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66 dead as passenger plane crashes in Iran

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All 66 passengers and crew members were killed when an Iranian plane crashed into the country’s Zagros mountains on Sunday, an airline spokesperson told state television.

Meanwhile Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has condoled loss of precious lives in tragic Iranian plane crash. He shared grief of bereaved families and brotherly Iranian nation, said DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor in a tweet.

Meanwhile Punjab Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif took to twitter to express his condolences. “Saddened by the news of an Iranian plane crash and loss of precious lives in it. I extend my sympathies and condolences to the leadership and brotherly people of Iran. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families at this difficult hour”, he wrote on twitter.

The Aseman Airlines flight left Tehran’s Mehrabad airport at around 0800 (0430 GMT) for the city of Yasuj in Isfahan province, said Mohammad Tabatabai, director of public relations for the airline.

The plane crashed into Dena mountain, part of the Zagros range, around 23 kilometres (14 miles) from Yasuj, some 500 kilometres south of the capital, he told state broadcaster IRIB.

“After searches in the area, unfortunately we were informed that the plane crashed. Unfortunately, all our dear ones lost their lives in this incident,” Mohammad Tabatabai, public relations director for Aseman Airlines, told state broadcaster IRIB.

The plane was carrying 60 passengers, including one child, as well as six crew members, he added.

A helicopter sent by Iran’s national emergency services was unable to land at the site of the accident due to severe weather, its spokesman said.

The Relief and Rescue Organisation of Iran’s Red Crescent said it had dispatched 12 teams to the region.

“Given the fact that the area is mountainous, it is not possible to send ambulances,” Mojtaba Khaledi, spokesman for the national emergency services, told ISNA news agency.

Decades of international sanctions have left Iran with an ageing fleet of passenger planes which it has struggled to maintain and modernise.
It has suffered multiple aviation disasters, most recently in 2014 when a Sepahan plane crashed killing 39 people.

Tabatabai said the plane that crashed on Sunday was a twin-engine turboprop ATR-72. Aseman currently has a fleet of 36 planes – half of them 105-seat Dutch Fokker 100s.

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