72 killed in Iran plane crash (Third Lead)

Monday, January 10, 2011

TEHRAN - Seventy-two people, including 12 crew members, were killed when a plane with 105 people on board crashed in northwest Iran.

The remaining 33 people were seriously injured in the accident that occurred Sunday evening in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, Xinhua said, citing reports from the semi-official Fars news agency.

The Boeing-727, belonging to the state-owned Iran-Air airline, had been delayed twice due to bad weather in Tehran, which saw brief snow Sunday morning.

The plane took off from Tehran’s Mehrabad airport at 18.00 local time (1230 GMT) and was about to arrive at the city of Urumieh at 19.45. But it crashed near a village some 15 km from Urumieh minutes before landing, the governor of West Azerbaijan told Iranian state broadcaster IRINN TV.

“Ten minutes before the plane arrived at the Urumieh airport, the pilot informed the airport control tower that it cannot land due to the bad whether condition … and after that it disappeared from the radar,” the governor, Jalalzadeh, said.

However, another report by Mehr news agency quoted the political deputy of West Azerbaijan governor, Ebrahim Fathollahi, as saying that in his last conversation with the control tower, the pilot said his plane had a technical problem.

Iran has been struck by several air disasters in recent years. In July 2009, a Caspian Airlines plane crashed near the northwestern city of Qazvin, killing all 168 people on board.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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