An Iranian passenger plane carrying 66 people on board crashed near the remote mountain town of Semirom on Sunday. Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai told state TV that all on the flight were killed, but the statement was later retracted by the airline.
The plane, an ATR-72 twin-engine turboprop, reportedly lost contact with air control during its flight from Tehran to the southern Iranian city of Yasuj, some 780 kilometers (485 miles) south of the Iranian capital. The plane carried 60 passengers, including one child, and six crew members.
“An ATR aircraft of Aseman Airlines with 60 passengers and about six crew disappeared from radar this morning,” Aladin Borujerdi, head of parliaments national security and foreign policy commission, told the semi-official ISNA news agency.
Mojtaba Khaledi, a spokesman for the national emergency services, told the semi-official ISNA news agency that a helicopter had been sent to the area.
“Given the fact that the area is mountainous, it is not possible to send ambulances,” he said.
Authorities said the plane was operated by Tehran-based Aseman Airlines, a semi-private air carrier that specializes in flights to remote airfields across the country. It also flies internationally, according to the Associated Press.
Air accidents are a recurring affair in Iran as decades of international sanction have made it impossible for the country to replace its ageing fleet. Following the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers, Iran signed deals with both Airbus and Boeing to buy scores of passenger planes.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is a three-day visit to India, is expected to conclude his visit on Sunday and return to Iran. On February 11, a Russian plane carrying 71 people crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all the passengers and flight crew onboard.
With inputs form Agencies