Tehran, Feb 18 (IANS) A passenger plane with 66 people on board crashed in central Iran on Sunday, authorities said but declined to give any definite information about the fate of the passengers.
The ATR 72, a twin-engine turboprop operated by Aseman Airlines, crashed due to bad weather into the Dena Mountain near Semirom town, an official at the Iranian carrier told the media.
The plane was flying from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasuj, reports Press TV.
Officials in Semirom said the crash site was hard to reach and rescue helicopters had been unable to land because of heavy fog and rain.
The airline initially issued a statement saying all 66 had died in the accident but retracted it later.
“Given the special circumstances of the region, we still have no access to the spot of the crash and therefore we cannot accurately and definitely confirm the death of all passengers of this plane.”
Spokesman for Iran’s emergency services Mojtaba Khaledi said rescue teams has reached the crash site by land and were trying to find the debris.
Air controllers lost contact with the airplane at around 8 a.m. The people on board were 60 passengers, two security guards, two flight attendants, the pilot and co-pilot.
Iran has seen several aviation accidents in recent years, the BBC reports.
Because of international sanctions imposed on the country to curb its nuclear programme, Iran has had a hard time getting spare parts to maintain its ageing aircraft fleet. The sanctions were mostly lifted under a 2015 deal between Iran and the US alongside several other powers.