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Iranian plane crash kills 168
Published on 16 Jul. 2009 12:24 AM IST
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All 168 people on board an Iranian airliner which crashed shortly after takeoff from here Wednesday were killed, police and health ministry officials confirmed. The fully-laden three-engine Tupolev plane, carrying 153 passengers and 15 crew memebrs, crashed around 11.30 a.m. near Jannat-abad village in northwestern Qazvin province. “The 7908 Caspian flight to Yerevan, Armenia crashed 16 minutes after its takeoff from the International Imam Khomeini Airport (IKIA) Tehran,” said Iran’s Aviation Organisation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh. “All people on board the plane have been killed in the crash,” Hossein Behzadpour, the police chief of Qazvin province, was quoted as saying by the Press TV. Members of Iran’s Junior Judo squad -- eight athletes and two coaches -- were among those killed. “The aircraft all of a sudden fell out of the sky and exploded on impact, where you see the crater,” a witness told Press TV from the crash site. The crash caused an explosion which created a 10-metre crater on the ground while pieces of the aircraft spread over an area of 200 square meters. Deputy Governor of Qazvin Sirous Saberi said the military forces were searching for the plane’s black box to determine the cause of the crash. Managing director of Iran’s airport authority said all the conversations between the pilot and the ground was normal and did not indicate any technical glitch. It was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 in Iran since 2002 and the deadliest crash in the Islamic Republic since 2003 when an Ilyushin Il-76, also Russian built, crashed into a mountain.

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