Sunday, 18 February 2018

65 people feared dead in Iranian plane crash

It's believed that all 65 passengers and crew on an Aseman Airlines ATR72 aircraft have perished in an air disaster in the mountainous region in southern Iran.

The ATR72 was 24 years old and left the Iranian capital Tehran at around 8am local time Sunday morning and is understood to have crashed approximately an hour later. Local media is reporting that the aircraft came down near the remote mountain town of Semirom, which is close to 390 miles south of Tehran. A blanket of heavy fog was said to be in the region at the time of the incident.  

A spokesperson for Aseman Airlines originally advised that there were 66 people on the aircraft, however, it now appears one passenger had actually missed the flight, bringing the likely death toll to 65.  According to local media, there were 59 passengers on board, as well as a flight crew of two, two flight attendants and two air marshals.

The aircraft was en route to the southern city of Yasuj, in Isfahan province when the crash happened and "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." said the spokesperson, Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai. 
Rescue teams and Iran's Red Crescent have deployed workers to the area on foot as the fog is preventing helicopters from reaching the crash site.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a statement: "The very tragic incident of a passenger plane crashing on Tehran-Yasuj route, which led to the death of a number of our fellow Iranians, caused great grief and sorrow.  I hereby express sympathy with the bereaved families and offer my condolences to the Iranian nation, asking the Almighty mercy for those who lost their lives, and patience and rewards for their bereaved families."

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani issued messages of condolences. The president asked the transport minister to lead an investigation into the crash. The Armenian Prime Minister expressed his sympathies and condolences. 

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