66 people dead after commercial plane crashes in southern Iran

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Photograph of a candle. Wikimedia Commons

Sixty-six people aboard a commercial aeroplane were killed after it crashed in southern Iran. The number of casualties was confirmed by an airline spokesman through Iran state television on Sunday.

Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai has confirmed the deaths of all people on the flight. Among them was a child. It was reported that those on board include 60 passengers, two flight attendants, two security guards, the pilot and his co-pilot. The Aseman Airlines plane was en route to the southwestern city of Yasuj from Tehran.

Authorities said through Iran's Fars News Agency that the plane crashed into Mount Dena, which was approximately 1,440-feet tall, near Semirom town. The area is believed to have been foggy at the time of the crash. Authorities said they will be conducting an investigation.

According to reports from Iranian state media, an Airline official said that the flight departed from Mehrabad airport and vanished from the radar shortly after that. A rescue helicopter attempted to reach the crash site, but it was forced to turn back because of the bad weather. Tehran Times reports that emergency medical services have not succeeded to reach the area due to inaccessibility of the mountainous areas and fog. A search and rescue team near the city of Semirom in Isfahan province has been deployed.

"This is a snow-covered mountainous area, much like the Rockies in America or the European Alps," CNN's Senior International Correspondent Sam Kiley said. He added that any rescue operation will depend entirely on the weather.

Reports from Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency initially claimed that the plane crashed some 390 miles south of Tehran, the capital. The incident took place near the remote mountain town of Semirom.

The Iran Aseman Airlines plane has been identified as an ATR-72 was operated by Asseman Airlines and was headquartered in Tehran. It specialised in flights to remote airfields within and out of the country.

Iran's commercial passenger aircraft fleets have reportedly aged under years of international sanctions, with air accidents happening regularly in the past years. Iran has signed deals with Boeing and Airbus to purchase scores of passenger planes following the landmark nuclear deal in 2015. Netizens took to Twitter to share their reactions to the news, with one user saying that airline travel safety should never be compromised.

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