Bad weather hampering Iran plane crash search teams

  • Bad weather hampering Iran plane crash search teams

Bad weather hampering Iran plane crash search teams

A plane carrying a total of 66 people, including passengers and crew members, crashed into the Iran's Zagros mountains on Sunday, killing all on-board. "So I called my brother and he said they will get here, it (the plane) is not behind schedule yet", a young woman told a reporter for state television.

ATR, the joint venture between Airbus and Italy's Leonardo which manufactured the plane, said the reason of the accident was not yet known. Emergency teams have had to travel to the crash site by land rather than using a helicopter.

The Iran Aseman Airlines plane took off from the capital Tehran at 08:00 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) on Sunday and disappeared from the radar screen 50 minutes later, in an area that is about 14 miles (22.4 km) from its destination Yasuj city. But he later retracted his statement, telling the ISNA news agency: "We still have no access to the spot of the crash and therefore we can not accurately and definitely confirm the death of all passengers".

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani expressed sympathy for all involved, saying in a statement that the incident brought "great grief and sorrow".

Aseman's fleet includes at least three ATR-72s that date back to the early 1990s, according to the IRNA news agency.

Lifting sanctions on aviation purchases was a key clause in the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers in 2015.

Decades of diplomatic isolation have left Iran's airlines with ageing fleets of passenger planes which they have struggled to maintain and modernise.

Aseman, Iran's third largest airline, signed a contract with Boeing past year to buy 30 of its latest medium-range 737s.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences over Sunday's crash, just moments after he launched a blistering attack on Tehran's government.

"After searching the area, we learned that unfortunately. our dear passengers had lost their lives", Tabatabai said.

The US Treasury Department, which must approve each such sale, has done so for 80 Boeing jets destined for national carrier Iran Air as well as 100 Airbus planes for Iran Air.