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Russian TV Cites Possible Pilot Error in FlyDubai Crash

  • VOA News

Emergencies Ministry members work at the crash site of a Boeing 737-800, Flight FZ981, operated by Dubai-based budget carrier FlyDubai, at the airport of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, March 20, 2016.

Emergencies Ministry members work at the crash site of a Boeing 737-800, Flight FZ981, operated by Dubai-based budget carrier FlyDubai, at the airport of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, March 20, 2016.

Russian state television has aired a transcript of the final words of the pilots trying to land a doomed Dubai passenger jet last week in southern Russia.

Rossiya-1 television late Friday cautioned that its interpretation of the transcript should not be considered the official version. But it said the pilots, battling high winds, lost control and the plane nosedived into the ground in Rostov-on-Don immediately after the autopilot was turned off. All 62 people on board were killed.

"Don't worry," one of the pilots said in the transcript. Seconds later, the pilot was heard saying, "Do not do that." The last recorded words were repeated calls to "pull up."

People gather to commemorate the victims of the crashed Flight FZ981, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Dubai-based budget carrier FlyDubai, outside the airport of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, March 20, 2016.

People gather to commemorate the victims of the crashed Flight FZ981, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Dubai-based budget carrier FlyDubai, outside the airport of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, March 20, 2016.

The report also cited experts who suggested that when the autopilot was turned off, a stabilizing fin was activated, making the plane "not react to the pilot's control panel."

The report said the pilot might have accidentally switched on the stabilizing mechanism.

Russian investigators are conducting a criminal probe of the crash. On Thursday, investigators said the first preliminary report on the crash could be made public in the next two weeks.

FlyDubai airlines said the five-year-old aircraft had undergone an extensive maintenance inspection earlier this year. The March 19 crash was the first deadly incident in the budget carrier's seven-year history.

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