Plane crash in Iran kills 80

Friday, September 1, 2006

A jet similar to the one that crashed.

An Iran Air Tour commercial jet, flight 945, has crash landed in Iran and has killed at least 80 people and injured as many as 60. None of the crew was killed. The plane crash landed at approximately 1:45 p.m. local time in Iran. The plane is a Russian made Tupolev 154 passenger jet. There were at least 148 people on the plane according to Iranian Civil Aviation official, Reza Jafarzadeh.

There are conflicting reports as to how many have been killed. The Hindu reports that at least 80 have been killed, but BBC News reports that only 29 have been killed.

The plane crashed after landing when a tire blew up causing the plane go off the runway and "then its left wing hit the ground and caught fire," said chairman of Iran's civil aviation, Nourollah Rezai Niaraki, but Jafarzadeh says the cause of the crash is not yet known. The jet was coming from Bandar Abbas, a port city in southern Iran and was landing at an airport in Mashhad located in northeast Iran.

"As the plane was landing one of its tyres burst, forcing to it to swerve off the runway before hitting nearby barriers and bursting into flames," another aviation official said.

Witnesses say that the "plane was going up and down" when it was attempting to land and that a "huge sound" was heard coming from "underneath" the plane.

"The plane was going up and down when we were trying to land. When we landed, I heard a huge sound from underneath the plane. The plane leaned to one side and started sliding on the ground and then a fire started from the front of the plane," said one of the survivors.

Mashhad, which is home to the Imam Reza shrine, is a popular destination for pilgrimages of Shias.

Iran Air Tours currently has 43 planes in operation.

On August 22, 2006, another Tupolev Tu-154 Russian made passenger jet crashed in Ukraine killing all the passengers aboard.