77 including 4 foreigners killed in Iran's air crash
Iranian officials said Monday the air crash near the airport of the northwestern city of Uroumieh on Sunday killed 77, including four foreigners.
Iran's Coroner Organization confirmed in an announcement on Monday earlier reports that 77 of the people on board were killed in the incident, according to a report by local Mehr news agency.
Four Iraqi nationals were among the victims of the Sunday air crash in Iran's West Azerbaijan province, Mehr quoted Coroner Organization's report as saying, adding that two of the four Iraqi nationals have been identified by their relatives.
There were no Chinese passengers on the plane, Chinese embassy officials in Tehran told Xinhua.
Names of 73 people, 51 of whom were men and 22 were women, were disclosed by the announcement which said that four others killed in the accident still need to be identified.
An earlier report by semi-official Fars news agency said that 12 crew members were also among the killed.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressed condolences to the families of the victims on Monday.
Some 27 others were injured when the passenger plane crashed near Uroumieh, according to Nosrat Molazadeh, head of Uroumieh University of Medical Sciences, local satellite Press TV reported. The injured people were transferred to the hospitals in Uroumieh.
Although on the basis of the latest reports the number of the people on board amounts to 104, there were, however, different local media reports, ranging from 104 to 106.
On Monday, another passenger plane which took off from Tehran's Mehrabad airport at 17:00 local time (1330 GMT) could not land in Uroumieh airport due to bad whether and flew back to Tehran, Xinhua reporters said.
The Fokker 100 passenger plane, belonging to IranAir airlines flew above the Uroumieh airport with one hour's delay, but failed to land and had to return to Tehran, according to Xinhua reporters who were on board to Uroumieh to report about the Sunday's air crash.
On Sunday, the Boeing-727, also belonging to the state-owned IranAir airliner, took off from Tehran Mehrabad airport at 18:00 local time (1430 GMT) and crashed at 19:45 local time (1615 GMT) near a village some 15 km from Uroumieh.
One of the black boxes of the plane has been found and 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.
"Ten minutes before the plane arrived at the Uroumieh airport, the pilot informed the airport control tower that it cannot land due to the bad whether condition... and after that it disappeared from the radar," the governor of West Azerbaijan told Iran state IRINN TV on Sunday night.
However, in another report by Mehr, the political deputy of West Azerbaijan governor said that the last conversation of the pilot with the control tower revealed that, before the emergency landing, he had announced that his plane had a technical problem.
Iran has seen several air disasters, involving both civil and military use aircraft, in recent years.
In July 2009, a Caspian Airlines plane crashed near the northwestern city of Qazvin, killing all 168 people on board.
Experts said 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 air disasters.