DUBAI: At least 39 people were killed yesterday when an Iran-140 Sepahan Air passenger plane crashed after take-off from Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on a flight to Tabas in northeast Iran, state media reported.
Initial reports said all 48 passengers and crew had been killed, but state media later said some passengers had been injured and transferred to hospital.
Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said eight or nine had survived and quoted a doctor as saying that one of the injured had regained consciousness.
Iran’s airlines have been plagued by crashes, which Iranian politicians blame on international sanctions that block airlines from replacing their ageing fleets. About 14 crashes involving Iranian planes were reported in the decade to January 2011.
President Hassan Rowhani ordered a halt to all flights of Iran-140 pending full investigation, IRNA said.
The pilot detected technical issues four minutes after take-off and tried to return to the airport, state television said, but the twin-engine turboprop crashed on a road at 9.18am local time. One witness said it crashed into a wall.
State television said 37 people died on the spot, two on their way to hospital while nine were undergoing treatment.
The Civil Aviation Authority said the passengers included two infants and three children under 12. Mashallah Shakibi, 63, a former member of parliament from Tabas was among the dead.
One survivor said he was saved by jumping through a hole in the plane’s body created by a blast.