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168 killed in plane crash in Iran
Shamim | 16 Jul 2009

At least 168 passengers aboard a Tupolev passenger aircraft were killed when it crashed in northwestern Iran on Wednesday. Iranian media says the Caspian Airlines aircraft was carrying 153 passengers and 15 crew members.

At least 168 passengers aboard a Tupolev passenger aircraft were killed when it crashed in northwestern Iran on Wednesday. Iranian media says the Caspian Airlines aircraft was carrying 153 passengers and 15 crew members.

The Caspian Airlines jet was heading from Tehran to the Armenian capital Yerevan when it crashed near the village of Jannatabad outside the city of Qazvin, around 75 miles northwest of Tehran. After 16 minutes of taking off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport, the plane crashed in the northwest city of Tehran.
State TV quoted head of Qazvin province police as saying that "apparently all the passengers on board have been killed."
 
A Caspian Airlines representative told Associated Press in Yerevan that most of the passengers were Armenians, and that some Georgian citizens were also on board. A fire brigade official told Iranian state television hat it’s been a major disaster with pieces of aircraft spread over an area of 200 square meters.
 
He added, “There was an explosion which left an indentation 10 meters deep in the ground. There was nothing we could do. We tried to put out the fire as best we could.”
The semi-official Fars News Agency quoted a senior provincial official, Sirous Saberi, as saying the plane had experienced technical problems and had tried to do an emergency landing.
 
He said, “Unfortunately the plane caught fire in the air and it crashed and different small parts of this plane can be seen on the ground.”
 
Caspian Airlines is a Russian-Iranian joint venture founded in 1993. Iran has frequent plane crashes often because of bad maintenance of its aging aircraft. Tehran blames the problem in part on US sanctions that prevent Iran from getting spare parts for some planes.