At least 70 killed when passenger plane crashes in NW Iran

January 10th, 2011 - 3:03 am ICT by BNO News  

URMIA, IRAN (BNO NEWS) — An Iran Air passenger plane carrying more than 100 people crashed in northwestern Iran on Sunday evening, state-run media reported, killing at least 70 people.

The Fars news agency said the Boeing 727 aircraft went down at around 7.45 p.m. local time near Urmia, a city in northwestern Iran and the capital of West Azerbaijan Province. It said at least 92 passengers, including two infants, and eight crew members were on board the plane.

A spokesman for Boeing Commercial Airplanes was not immediately able to confirm that one of their planes had in fact crashed in Iran, but said the company was “looking into” the report and promised to provide more details later.

Iranian media said the Iran Air plane had taken off from Mehr-Abad Airport in Tehran just after 6 p.m. local time and was en-route to Urmia International Airport. It crashed about 10 minutes before landing while visibility was less than 1 mile (1.6 kilometer) due to heavy snow.

The heavy snowfall was said to be heavily hampering rescue efforts, although media reports said at least 32 people had survived the accident and were transported to area hospitals. Many of them were critically or seriously injured.

“According to reports we have received, so far there are 70 people dead and also 32 people injured,” Heidar Heidari, an Iranian Red Crescent official, told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

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