DUBAI // Forty days after the FlyDubai crash that killed all 62 passengers and crew members on board Flight FZ981, the congregation at St Philip the Apostle Russian Orthodox Church in Sharjah yesterday held a memorial service.
“The 40th day is very important to us because we pray for the souls of the departed,” said Marina Aksenov, head of the church’s education centre.
“In our belief, prayers are said on the third, ninth and 40th day and on every anniversary.”
The church held a small ceremony yesterday morning to pray for the deceased and the worshippers in attendance.
Among those remembered at the service was Anna Serhieieva, a Ukrainian beauty salon worker who often attended services at the church.
“It is a very hard loss, she was a very positive person and is missed by everyone,” said Yana Rud, Serhieieva’s compatriot, friend and colleague at the Enigma Beauty Salon & Spa.
“She was a very open person, always smiling and laughing. When we heard the news none of us could believe this had happened. It’s terrible for her family because this was not even a planned holiday.”
Serhieieva had decided to surprise her family and booked a seat on Flight FZ981 that crashed in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don Airport on March 19 after a second failed attempt to land in bad weather conditions.
“She had told only very close friends that she wanted to surprise her family. Her mother is distressed. She prays every day for her, even though she knows that prayer cannot bring her daughter back,” said Ms Rud, who has been staying in touch with Serhieieva’s family.
Russia’s civil aviation authority issued an interim report last week outlining its recommendations.
The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) said flight crews must receive additional training on go-arounds – or aborted landings when a flight is preparing to land, but the pilot pulls out of the approach to the airport.
The report also said FlyDubai should look into the possibility of introducing flight simulator training for bad weather conditions.
FlyDubai said it had followed the recommended procedures, and had updated its crew members and flight engineers with information published by the IAC as part of its emergency response plan.
Earlier this month, grieving relatives, friends and colleagues of the crash victims posted their condolences in Russian and English along with photographs of remembrance wreaths on withgreatsadness.com, a FlyDubai memorial website.
The airline said it had mobilised a team to work on a long-term basis with each bereaved family to handle requests on identification and repatriation of personal effects.
Source: uae news