66 people feared dead after plane crashed in Zagros mountains

Vastavam web: All 66 people on board an Iranian passenger plane were feared dead today after it crashed into the country’s Zagros mountains, with emergency services struggling to locate the wreckage in blizzard conditions.Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 left Tehran around 0800 (local time) for the city of Yasuj, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) to the south, the airlines public relations chief Mohammad Tabatabai told state broadcaster IRIB.The plane was carrying 60 passengers, including one child, as well as six crew, said Tabatabai.

“After searches in the area, unfortunately we were informed that the plane crashed. Unfortunately, our dear ones lost their lives in this incident,” he said.
But he later retracted his statement, telling the ISNA news agency: “We still have no access to the spot of the crash and therefore we cannot accurately and definitely confirm the death of all passengers.””Right now there are five rescue and relief teams of the emergency service in the area. But they still haven’t spotted anything,” said Pooranfar.

The Relief and Rescue Organisation of Iran’s Red Crescent said it had also sent 12 teams to the region.Aseman currently has a fleet of 36 planes, including at least three ATR-72s that date back to the early 1990s, according to the IRNA news agency.Decades of international sanctions have left Irans airlines with ageing fleets of passenger planes which they have struggled to maintain and modernise.Asemans three Boeing 727-200s are almost as old as the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution, having made their first flights the following year.

Iran has suffered multiple aviation disasters, most recently in 2014 when a Sepahan Airlines plane crashed killing 39 people just after take-off from Tehran, narrowly avoiding many more deaths when it plummeted near a busy market.However, the sale could be scuppered if US President Donald Trump chooses to reimpose sanctions in the coming months, as he has threatened to do.The US has maintained its own sanctions on Iran, blocking almost all trade with the country, but plane manufacturers were given a specific exemption under the nuclear deal.