77 killed, 27 injured in air crash in northwest Iran

09:46, January 10, 2011      

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Rescuers work at the crash site of a passenger plane near the city of Uroumieh in northwest of Iran on Jan. 9, 2011. A passenger plane with over 100 passengers on board crashed Sunday evening in northwest Iran, with at least 35 passengers survived and scores were killed, the local English language satellite Press TV quoted an unnamed red crescent official as saying. (Xinhua/Mehr, Esfandiar Asgharkhani)

Seventy-seven people were killed in an air crash in northwest Iran on Sunday evening, the local English language satellite Press TV reported on Monday.

Some 27 others were injured when the Iran Air-operated passenger plane crashed near the city of Uroumieh, West Azerbaijan Province, Head of Uroumieh University of Medical Sciences Nosrat Molazadeh was quoted by Press TV as saying. He added the injured were transferred to the hospitals in Uroumieh.

There were no Chinese passengers on the plane, Chinese embassy officials in Tehran told Xinhua.

An earlier report by semi-official Fars news agency said that 72 passengers, including 12 crew members, of the 105 onboard were killed, while 33 others were injured. There have been different reports on the number of people onboard by local media, ranging from 104 to 106.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

The Boeing-727, belonging to the state-owned Iran-Air airliners took off from Tehran Mehrabad airport at 18:00 local time (1230 GMT) and was crashed at 19:45 local time (1615 GMT) near a village some 15 km from Uroumieh.

The cause of the crash was yet to be found out, but earlier reports have linked the incident to bad whether condition and technical problems on the plane.

In the past, Iran's airlines have suffered a number of flight disasters, both civil and military use.

In July 2009, a Caspian Airlines plane crashed near the northwestern city of Qazvin, killing all 168 people on board.

Experts believe that the U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iran, which prevented its allies from selling aircraft or aircraft parts to the country, have undermined safety standards within Iran's civil and military aviation fleet and are increasing the likelihood of more major air disasters.

Source: Xinhua

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