66 die as Iran Plane Crashes into Mountain

A passenger plane with 66 people on board has crashed in central Iran during a flight from Tehran to the city of Yasuj.

A spokesperson for Iran Aseman Airlines told State TV that Sunday’s air crash killed all 66 people on board.

State-run PressTV said the Iran Aseman Airlines flight was carrying 60 passengers and six crew members.

Reports in Iranian media claim the plane went down in a mountainous area near the town of Semirom.

It is understood that the Iranian Red Crescent had deployed personnel to the area, which was quite foggy at the time of the crash.

Aseman Airlines is a semi-private air carrier headquartered in Tehran that specialises in flights to remote airfields across the country and also flies internationally.

It is not yet clear what led to the crash of the ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short-distance regional flying even as authorities said they would be investigating it.

Under decades of international sanctions, Iran’s commercial passenger aircraft fleet has deteriorated leading to frequent air accidents.

In a chat with Al Jazeera from London, David Learmount, aviation safety specialist and former pilot, said: “Weather in the mountains where the plane crashed was pretty bad.

“It looks as if, when the aircraft was carrying out its initial descent towards its destination, it was in the wrong position and it hit mountains.

“Basically, it’s a failure of navigation. An airplane hitting mountains in clouds is like a ship hitting rocks.”

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