Iranian Airliner Crashes in Emirates
February 10, 2004 04:18 AM EST
Source: Associated Press
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates - An Iranian airliner with about 60 people aboard crashed Tuesday shortly after taking off from Sharjah airport in the United Arab Emirates, according to television reports that showed flaming wreckage and rescue helicopters landing nearby.
There was word of survivors aboard the Kish Airline plane, according to Sharjah television, which reported that 49 passengers plus a child were on board. The number of crew wasn't clear.
Mehdi Mehranpour, deputy managing director of Iran's national carrier, Iran Air, said the plane belonged to Kish Air, a separate Iranian company. Kish Air officials could not immediately be reached.
Speaking to The Associated Press in the Iranian capital of Tehran, Mehranpour said the airliner was a Fokker 50, which can carry about 60 people, and that it had crashed in a populated area near Sharjah airport. The Sharjah television report had said the crash area was uninhabited area.
In the television footage, flames were visible from the front of the plane, which appeared not to be intact. The plane's tail section could be seen and no fire were seen in that area on the television footage. Other indiscernible debris could be seen smoking on the ground.
Iran has a history of air accidents, often blamed on badly maintained planes. In June, an Iranian military C-130 transport plane crashed outside Tehran, killing all seven people on board. In February, a Russian-made Ilyushin-76 crashed in southeastern Iran, killing all 275 aboard.
In Belarus in September, a Tupolev-154 belonging to Kish Air on a Tehran-Minsk-Copenhagen went off course while making its landing approach at the Minsk-2 airport, striking trees which caused serious damage to the plane's wings. None of the 40 people aboard were hurt.
In 1995, an Iranian flight attendant hijacked a Kish Air Boeing 707 to Israel during a flight from Tehran. The plane was returned to Tehran with 174 passengers and crew.
Kish Airline has a fleet of four medium range TU-154M jets, a Russian aircraft, on domestic and international flights and four short-range Fokker-50, a German-made turboprop plane, according to the company's Web site.