An IranAir passenger jet carrying around 100 people crashed as it was making an emergency landing Sunday in a snowstorm in the country’s northwest and broke into several pieces, killing 70 of those on board, Iranian media reported. The others survived with light injuries.
It was not clear what caused the Boeing-727, operated by Iran’s national airline, to attempt an emergency landing in the city of Orumiyeh, 460 miles (700 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Tehran. A spokesman for the Iranian civil aviation organization, Abbas Mosayebi, said only that the plane “faced an incident,” state TV reported.
Masoumi said heavy snow was complicating rescue efforts. That report also said there was fog in the area.
The plane was broken into several pieces, but there was no explosion or fire, said Mahmoud Mozaffar, head of the rescue department of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, speaking on state TV.
Iran has a history of frequent air accidents blamed on its aging aircraft and poor maintenance. In July 2009 a Russian-made jetliner crashed in northwest Iran shortly after taking off from the capital, killing all 168 on board.
In February 2003 a Russian-made Ilyushin 76 carrying members of the Revolutionary Guard crashed in the mountains of southeastern Iran, killing 302 people aboard.
IranAir’s fleet includes Boeing and Airbus aircraft, many of them bought before the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. The airline also has some Russian-made Tupolev-145 jets.
Associated Press contributed to this report.