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72 killed, 33 survive, in Iran air crash

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A passenger plane with 105 passengers on board crashed Sunday evening in northwest Iran and 72 passengers, including 12 crew members, were killed, the semi-official Fars news agency reported early Monday morning.

According to the latest report of the Coroner Office of Iran's West Azerbaijan province, 33 survived in the crash but were injured, said Fars.

The Boeing-727, belonging to the state-owned Iran-Air airliners, had been delayed twice due to bad weather in Tehran, which saw brief snow on Sunday morning, said an earlier report by Fars.

The plane took off from Tehran Mehrabad airport at 6 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. in Manila) and was about to arrive at the city of Uroumieh at 7:45 p.m. local time when it crashed near a village, some 15 kilometers from Uroumieh, Mr. Jalalzadeh, the Governor of West Azerbaijan told Iran state IRINN TV.

"Ten minutes before the plane arrived at the Uroumieh 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," said Jalalzadeh.

However, in another report by Mehr news agency, the political deputy of West Azerbaijan governor, said that the last conversation of the pilot with the control tower revealed that, before the emergency landing, he had announced that his plane had a technical problem.

Upon emergency landing and due to the lack of clear vision of the site, the plane crashed and broke into pieces, Ebrahim Fathollahi told Mehr.

The villagers took the injured people out of the plane and rushed them to the nearest hospitals, the governor of West Azerbaijan told IRINN TV.

All the injured passengers have been taken to the hospitals nearby, he said.

Iran has seen several air disasters, involving both civil and military use aircraft, in recent years.

In July 2009, a Caspian Airlines plane crashed near the northwestern city of Qazvin, killing all 168 people on board.

Experts said the U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iran, which prevented its allies from selling aircraft or aircraft parts to the country, have undermined safety standards within Iran's civil and military aviation fleet and are increasing the likelihood of more air disasters. (PNA/Xinhua)




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