Iran General NewsJet crashes in north Iran as it tries to...

Jet crashes in north Iran as it tries to land


New York Times: An Iranian airplane carrying more than 100 passengers crashed as it tried to make an emergency landing in heavy snow and fog, killing at least 70 people, official news agencies reported.

The New York Times


TEHRAN — An Iranian airplane carrying more than 100 passengers crashed as it tried to make an emergency landing in heavy snow and fog, killing at least 70 people, official news agencies reported.

A rescue official, Heydar Heydari of the Red Crescent organization, said 32 people had survived but that the death toll was likely to rise, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Bad weather forced the Boeing 727 aircraft to abandon its first attempt to land as it approached Orumiyeh, a city in West Azerbaijan Province in the northwest, reports said. The plane was circling for a second approach when it disappeared from radar at around 7:45 p.m., state television reported.

News reports said the plane, on a domestic flight from the capital, Tehran, tried to land on farmland near Lake Orumiyeh.

Witnesses told the BBC Persian language news service by telephone that the plane broke into several pieces on impact but did not explode. A number of passengers were reportedly able to escape from the wreckage unharmed. Heavy snow was said to have been hampering rescue efforts.

Iran’s air industry has been plagued by safety concerns for years, at least in part because international sanctions have prevented the country from purchasing new American and European aircraft and spare parts for the ones it has.

Iran’s American-built aircraft were purchased before Iran’s 1979 revolution, when the two countries cut off relations. Airlines, including Iran’s flagship carrier, Iran Air, have struggled to keep those planes, as well as aging and often unreliable aircraft bought from Russia and other former Soviet states, in service.

In July 2009, a Russian-built Tupolev passenger jet operated by Caspian Airlines of Iran crashed on its way to Yerevan, Armenia, killing all 168 passengers and crew members.

In December 2005, 108 people were killed when an Iranian military plane, a Lockheed C-130, crashed into a high-rise housing block outside Tehran. The following November, a military plane crashed on takeoff at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport, killing 38 people.

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