Iran Plane Crash: All 65 Aboard Feared Dead
All 65 passengers and crew are feared dead in a plane crash in central Iran after the domestic flight came down in bad weather in a mountainous region. Aseman Airlines flight 3705 went off radar 50 minutes into its journey, not far from its destination. The twin-engine turboprop ATR-72 plane, used for short-distance regional flights, was 25 years old.
Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai, a spokesman for the airline, initially told state television that everyone aboard the ATR-72 had been killed. Later he said: "Given the special circumstances of the region, we still have no access to the spot of the crash and therefore we cannot accurately and definitely confirm the death of all passengers of this plane."
The airline had also initially said 60 passengers and six crew were on board ATR 72. But it later said there were a total of 65 people on board, as one passenger had missed the flight.
Severe weather conditions, including heavy fog, hampered search and rescue operations. Helicopters could not fly over the crash site. "With the wind intensifying, and with snow, rain and darkness, it is not possible for rescue and relief teams to reach high altitudes and the search operation has been postponed until tomorrow," broadcaster IRIB announced yesterday. "Five helicopters are on alert to resume the search at dawn if the weather conditions are better."
However, authorities say search teams reached the crash site before dawn on Monday. The station said the weather had improved and broadcast footage of a helicopter joining the search.
Relatives of 65 people who were on board are desperately waiting for any news, as rescue teams search for wreckage.
The crash was yet another fatal aviation disaster for Iran, which for years was barred from buying necessary airplane parts due to Western sanctions over its contested nuclear program.
Iran Plane Crash