Over 60 feared dead in Iran plane crash

Over 60 feared dead in Iran plane crash

An Iranian passenger plane has crashed into the country's Zagros mountains, with an official of the airline operating the flight saying all 66 people on board were killed in the mishap, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

The report said the plane was an ATR-72 and was flying from Tehran to the southern Iranian city of Yasuj.

Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai said there had been 60 passengers on board flight Flight EP3704, including a child, and six crew members.

"It is getting colder and darker and still no sign of the plane", said a television reporter accompanying rescue teams searching snow-covered areas in Mount Dena which has more than 40 peaks higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 feet).

Aseman Airlines (EP) flight 3704, departed at 08:00 local time on 18 February from Mehrabad International airport in Iran's capital city of Tehran.

In a more recent case in January 9, 2011, Iran Air 727-200 during a scheduled flight from Tehran to Urmia crashed near its destination causing the death of 12 crew members, and 65 passengers out of the 93 on board.

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A man said he spoke to his brother and father, who were on the plane, 10 minutes before it took off. It said that rescue teams were struggling to find the wreckage of the ATR-72 twin-engine plane. An officer of Iranian Emergency Organization said 'as the plane crashed in mountain region, it's because a daunting task for emergency ambulances to reach there'.

Mr Tabatabai said the flight had been carrying 60 passengers, two security guards, two flight attendants and a pilot and co-pilot.

Bad weather forced an emergency helicopter investigating the crash to turn back.

With decades of worldwide sanctions, Iran's commercial aircraft fleet has aged, and air accidents occur more regularly - killing 1,985 people since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

There have been scores of plane crashes in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, mainly because western sanctions for decades limited its ability to purchase spare parts or buy new planes. The apparent reason of crash is bad weather confronted by plane during landing process. It trails privately-owned Mahan Air and state-owned Iran Air. In last one, in August 2014 in Tehran, 40 people died.

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