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  • Date :
  • 1/11/2011

77 killed, 33 injured in Iran plane crash


77 passengers were killed and 33 were injured in the Iran Air Boeing 727 crash on Sunday night near the city of Urmia in northwestern Iran, announced West Azarbaijan Governor Vahid Jalalzadeh on Monday.

The plane had departed from Tehran with a delay of about two hours and was bound for Urmia. It was about to land at Urmia airport but did not succeed due to snowy weather. Then the plane disappeared off the flight controllers’ radar screens. The crash occurred at 7:45 p.m. local time.

Fortunately, the airliner did not explode after the crash, and a number of survivors managed to jump out of the plane and save their lives. Later the rescue workers pulled the dead bodies and the injured people from the wreck.

Jalalzadeh also told the Mehr News Agency that the captain in his last contact with the air traffic control tower had said that his visibility was down due to adverse weather conditions.

It seems that bad weather condition and poor visibility have been the main causes of the accident, he said.

He added that the provincial authorities have decided to declare three days of mourning in West Azarbaijan.

-- Ahmadinejad expresses condolences to bereaved families

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday issued a message of condolence to the families of the victims of the tragic air crash.

He also ordered the transport minister and other relevant officials to promptly investigate the incident and determine the cause of the crash.

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani also sympathized with the bereaved families on Monday.

He also called on the relevant officials to examine the incident thoroughly and inform the public about the results.

-- Transport minster insists number of plane incidents low in Iran

Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani has asserted, “The number of plane incidents in Iran is low compared with the international average.”

The transport minster remarks came while only in 2009 two major plane crashes occurred in Iran.

“Despite the spreading of propaganda against the Iranian airlines, the aviation safety of these airlines is high,” he said. “The administration has devised a special plan to improve the safety and quality of the Iranian airlines.”

Behbahani also denied that the crash happened due to a technical problem and said that the bad weather condition was the cause of the incident.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said that the plane did not explode because the field it landed on was thickly covered by snow.

The Iranian airline industry, which is heavily reliant on the second-hand Russian planes, has suffered from a series of plane crashes in recent years due to its aging fleet of passenger jets seriously affected by the Western sanctions banning the sales of planes and spare parts to Iran.

In January 2010, Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani was summoned to the Majlis to account for back-to-back train and plane accidents.

Following a plane crash in Mashhad, and the derailment of Tehran-Mashhad and Tehran-Kerman trains, the Majlis Development Committee decided to summon the transport minster to the Majlis to explain the cause of the accidents.

On July 24, a passenger plane with 153 aboard skidded on the runaway at Mashhad Airport and hit the airport fence, leaving 16 dead and 31 injured.

Besides the crash landing of the Mashhad-bound plane, one other major plane accident occurred in 2009.

On July 15, 2009, a Caspian Airlines plane en route to Armenia crashed near Qazvin, killing all 168 passengers on board.

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