Iran Plane Crash: Operation Underway to Transfer Bodies of Victims

Iran Plane Crash: Operation Underway to Transfer Bodies of VictimsIran Plane Crash: Operation Underway to Transfer Bodies of Victims

An operation began on Tuesday to recover bodies from the wreckage of a plane that crashed in a mountainous region of central Iran two days earlier with 66 people on board. 

Mountain climbers and rescue workers who had reached the site of the crash could spot bodies of 30 people, 15 of whom were identifiable, Fars News Agency reported, citing eyewitnesses.

An ATR-72 plane carrying 60 passengers and six crew operated by Aseman Airlines was flying to southwestern city of Yasuj on Sunday when it went down near the town of Semirom in Isfahan Province.  

The short-haul passenger aircraft vanished from radar screens roughly 50 minutes after taking off from Tehran's Mehrabad airport and crashed into Mount Dena in the Zagros Mountain range. All people on board are believed to have been killed

Exact Location

Because of heavy snow and fog, rescue teams had faced difficulty flying over the crash site, but after the weather cleared, the area of the incident could be located and the helicopters' crew began to transfer the bodies of the victims, according to the media reports. 

In a statement, Aseman Airlines confirmed that the exact location of the crash had been identified and that parts of the wreckage had been spotted. The Civil Aviation Organization also confirmed the news. 

ISNA quoted Morteza Salimi, head of the Relief and Rescue Organization at the Iranian Red Crescent Society, as saying that efforts were being made to transfer the bodies despite adverse weather conditions. 

Seven helicopters have been carrying out an operation at an altitude of 4,500 meters to transfer the bodies of the victims, IRNA reported, quoting official statements.   

The ATR 72 involved in the crash, a French-Italian aircraft, was introduced in the late 1980s. The Aseman Airlines fleet's aircraft were delivered as of 1993.

A team of crash investigators from French air safety agency BEA was due to arrive in Iran later on Tuesday, AFP reported. 

Iran's commercial passenger aircraft fleet has aged under decades of international sanctions, and the latest incident reawakened concerns over aviation safety in the country. 

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