Tehran: An Iranian Boeing 727 passenger plane crashed in bad weather in northwestern Iran on Sunday and 50 of the 105 people on board were rescued, local media said.
State media said the plane crashed just before landing at Urumiyeh airport. Mahmoud Mozafar head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state television “the plane was smashed into pieces but did not explode”.
The semi-official Fars news agency quoted an official as saying at least 50 people were rescued but rescue operations were being hampered by snow and fog in the area.
“There were 105 people on board. 94 of them were passengers, including two children,” Shahrokh Nioushabadi, a spokesman for Iran’s national airline, Iran Air, told the semi-official Mehr news agency.
Road and transport minister Hamin Behbahani told the student news agency ISNA that “fortunately the number of casualties is low”, but he did not give a number for the fatalities.
State television said the Iran Air plane was en route from the capital Tehran to Urumiyeh.
Iran has suffered a string of crashes in the past few decades. US sanctions against Iran have prevented it from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the West.
The last major air crash in Iran was in July 2009 when a Caspian Airlines Tupolev aircraft bound for Armenia caught fire in mid-air and crashed into farmland near the city of Qazvin, killing all 168 people on board.
One of the country’s worst air accidents happened in February 2003 when an Iranian Ilyushin-76 troop carrier crashed in southeast Iran, killing all 276 Revolutionary Guard soldiers and crew aboard.