35 survive Iranian air crash, 70 killed


TEHRAN – An airliner with Iran Air crashed on Sunday near a northwestern city in bad weather and broke into pieces, killing at least 70 of the 105 people on board, state news agency IRNA reported.
“Based on information received so far, 70 people have been killed and 32 injured” in the crash, Heydar Heydari, deputy head of the Iranian Red Crescent, told IRNA. The Mehr news agency quoting a medical official as reporting that 70 bodies had been transferred to hospitals.
The plane with the Islamic republic’s national carrier crashed near the northwestern city of Orumiyeh at around 7:45pm (1615 GMT), an official in West Azerbaijan province said, quoted on state television’s website. “The airplane took off an hour later than scheduled time from Tehran towards Orumiyeh and because of bad weather conditions came down in a village area near Orumiyeh,” the unidentified official said.
In an earlier report on Fars news agency, Iran’s head of emergency services Gholam Reza Masoumi said that “50 injured people out of the 105 on board have come out of the plane alive.” The governor-general of West Azerbaijan, Vahid Jalalzadeh, told state television that “all the bodies and the injured have been transferred to different hospitals in the city” of Orumiyeh.
Giving sketchy details of the crash, Jalalzadeh said the pilot had lost contact with the airport before the airliner disappeared off the radar.
“Then the plane crashed near the village and villagers told the authorities about the crash site. Some passengers were able to get out of the plane themselves, and villagers took several passengers to hospitals,” he said.
An Iranian Red Crescent official told state television that the plane hit the ground and broke into pieces.
“Thankfully there was no fire,” he said.
Iran Air spokesman Shahrokh Noushabadi said “we are examining the reason for the crash, but bad weather appears to be the main cause.” Fars said 105 people were believed to have been on board, and ISNA reported that the aircraft was a US-built Boeing 727. A third news agency, ILNA, gave a breakdown of 95 passengers and 10 crew members.