Among the 62 people killed in the FlyDubai passenger jet crash in southern Russia on Saturday was also a young Malayali couple. The flight crashed as it tried to land in bad weather in the city of Rostov-on-Don, officials said. The couple was identified as Anju Kathirvel Aiyappan and Mohan Shyam, who were working as Ayurveda therapists in Rostov-on-Don.
They were reportedly returning from their home town in Ernakulam after a two-month vacation. They left Kochi on Thursday night and Mohan had contacted his parents from Dubai. Though Anju was in Rostov-on-Don for last four years Mohan moved to the place after their marriage in 2014.
Chief minister Oommen Chandy has offered help to the family of the deceased.
Passengers killed in the crash included the 2 Indians, 44 Russians, 8 Ukrainians and one from Uzbekistan
The Boeing 737, heading from Dubai to the southern Russian city, was reportedly making its second attempt to land at 0050 GMT when it missed the runway, erupting in a huge fireball as it crashed, leaving debris scattered across a wide area.
"My whole house shook. I looked out into the yard and the sky was all red -- it was a shade of red that I have never seen," eyewitness Yana, who lives near the airport, told AFP.
Russia's Investigative Committee confirmed that all 55 passengers and seven crew members on board were killed and launched a probe into whether technical problems, pilot error or poor weather were behind the crash.
"On behalf of everyone at flydubai, I would like to express the devastation we all feel in relation to this morning's tragic event in Rostov-on-Don," flydubai chairman Ghaith Al Ghaith said in a statement.
A no-frills budget carrier which is a sister firm to Emirates Airlines, flydubai is government-owned and was set up in March 2008.
"We do not yet know all the details of the incident but we are working closely with the authorities to establish precisely what happened," the company said.
The passengers on board flight FZ981, which took off from Dubai at 1820 GMT and was due to land at 2240 GMT, included 44 Russian nationals, eight Ukrainians, two Indians and one Uzbek, the airline said. They comprised 33 women, 18 men and four children.
Various sources said the pilot was from Cyprus, while crew members came from Spain and the remaining four were from Russia, Colombia, the Seychelles and Kyrgyzstan.
Inside the international terminal at Rostov-on-Don airport, local residents laid flowers in front of a list of the victims, as shocked relatives tried to digest the news.
"I turned on the news and for some reason thought it was a terrorist attack but it turned out to have been here right at the airport," said relative Alexander Chistyakov.
"My brother was fifteen years older than me. He was a succesful surgeon in the local hospital. It is such a loss.
With PTI inputs