Sunday, June 24, 2018 | ePaper

Iran teams find wreckage of plane in Zagros mountains

  • Print


Rescuers search for the wreckage of Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 in Iran's Zagros mountains.

AFP, Tehran, Iran :
Iranian search teams found the wreckage on Tuesday of a plane that went missing in the Zagros mountains two days earlier with 66 people on board, a spokesman said.
Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 disappeared in the Zagros range on Sunday morning, around 45 minutes after taking off from Tehran.
After two days of heavy snow and fog, the weather finally cleared on Tuesday morning, giving helicopter teams much better visibility.
"The Revolutionary Guards' helicopters this morning found the wreckage of the plane on Dena mountain," spokesman Ramezan Sharif told state broadcaster IRIB.
An IRIB reporter who spoke to one of the pilots said he had seen "scattered bodies around the plane" and that it was located in Noghol village, around 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) up Dena mountain.
"Since yesterday the Guards' drones started carefully identifying the geographical area where the plane had probably crashed and this morning two helicopters of the air forces were dispatched to the location," Sharif said.
Snowmobiles were deployed earlier on the 4,409-metre (14,465-foot) peak, where more than 100 mountaineers have also been aiding the search."Last night, a number of people stayed on the mountain and through coordination with local guides managed to search all crevices," Mansour Shishefuroosh, head of a regional crisis centre, told the ISNA news agency.
Some 500 images taken by drones were being analysed overnight, he added.
The ATR-72 twin-engine plane, in service since 1993, flew early Sunday from Mehrabad airport towards the city of Yasuj, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) to the south.
Poor visibility meant some 60 helicopter sorties on Monday could find no trace of the plane.
A team of crash investigators from French air safety agency BEA were also due to arrive in Iran on Monday, but their arrival had not yet been confirmed.
The incident has reawakened concerns over aviation safety in Iran, which has been exacerbated by international sanctions over the years.
Aseman Airlines was blacklisted by the European Commission in December 2016.
It was one of only three airlines barred over safety concerns-the other 190 being blacklisted due to broader concerns over oversight in their respective countries.
Iran has complained that sanctions imposed by the United States have jeopardised the safety of its airlines and made it difficult to maintain and modernise ageing fleets.
Aseman was forced to ground many of its planes at the height of the sanctions due to difficulties in obtaining spares.
In a working paper presented to the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2013, Iran said US sanctions were blocking "the acquisition of parts, services and support essential to aviation safety".
Iran has suffered multiple aviation disasters, most recently in 2014 when 39 people were killed as a Sepahan Airlines plane crashed just after take-off from Tehran, narrowly avoiding many more deaths when it plummeted near a busy market.
But figures from the Flight Safety Foundation, a US-based NGO, suggest Iran is nonetheless above-average in implementing ICAO safety standards.
Lifting sanctions on aviation purchases was a key clause in the nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers in 2015.
Following the deal, Aseman Airlines finalised an agreement to buy 30 Boeing 737 MAX jets for $3 billion (2.4 billion euros) last June, with an option to buy 30 more.

More News For this Category

Kushner rips Abbas, says ME peace plan 'soon'

Kushner rips Abbas, says ME peace plan 'soon'

AP, Jerusalem :President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser said in an interview published Sunday that the administration will soon present its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, with or without input from

First Russia air strikes hit southern Syria as govt assault looms

First Russia air strikes hit southern Syria as govt assault looms

AFP, Beirut : Russia bombed rebel-held parts of southern Syria late Saturday for the first time since brokering a ceasefire there nearly a year ago, a monitor group said, as allied

Zimbabwe's President narrowly escapes assassination bid

Zimbabwe's President narrowly escapes assassination bid

The Washington Post :Zimbabwe's election campaign season took a worrying turn Saturday afternoon when a crude bombing at a speech delivered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared to be an attempt

Deported migrant parents grieve as opposition in US steps up pressure

AFP, Washington :Central American migrants deported from the US without their children spoke of their anguish at seeing their families split under President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" approach Saturday, as

Saudi women take victory laps as driving ban ends

Saudi women take victory laps as driving ban ends

Reuters, Riyadh :Women in Saudi Arabia took to the roads early on Sunday, ushering in the end of the world's last ban on female drivers, long seen as an emblem

News in brief

Trump likely to meet Putin soon AFP, WashingtonUS President Donald Trump is likely to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin "in the not-too-distant future," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in

Trump defends policies on border, N Korea

Trump defends policies on border, N Korea

Reuters, Las Vegas :President Donald Trump defended his tough stance on immigrants crossing the U.S. border with Mexico on Saturday, praising his administration for a job well done and saying

UN Chief appeals for end to fighting in south Syria

UN Chief appeals for end to fighting in south Syria

AFP, United Nations :UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for an immediate end to a military escalation in southwest Syria and a return to ceasefire arrangements agreed by Russia,

Trump sees N Korea still a nuclear threat

AP, Washington  :President Donald Trump declared Friday that North Korea still poses an "extraordinary threat" to the United States.In an executive order, the president extended for one year the so-called

EU supporters march in London to call for Brexit deal referendum

EU supporters march in London to call for Brexit deal referendum

Reuters, London :Thousands of supporters of the European Union gathered in central London on Saturday to call on the British government to hold a final public vote on the terms