Russian report sheds light on FlyDubai plane crash

MOSCOW – Russia’s civil aviation authority issued its first report Friday on last month’s crash of a FlyDubai plane in southwestern Russia, shedding light on what caused the sudden descent that killed all 62 people on board.

The Interstate Aviation Committee said that a nose-down shift in the horizontal stabilizer occurred after the crew had climbed to 900 metres (3,000 feet) after a second aborted landing during strong, gusty winds.

“Subsequent actions of the crew could not prevent the aircraft’s collision with the ground,” the report said, adding that the Boeing 737-800 had a pitch exceeding 50 degrees and a speed of more than 600 kilometres (360 miles) per hour when it crashed.

The aviation authority said its investigation into the March 19 crash in the port city Rostov-on-Don was ongoing, with help from pilots from Russia, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement, FlyDubai CEO Ghaith al-Ghaith said the budget airline was aware of the information that has been released. “We share the desire to get conclusive findings as quickly as possible,” al-Ghaith said, without discussing the results of the preliminary report.