Iranian plane crashes with 168 passengers on board
IRNA news agency reported Wednesday that an Iranian passenger airplane carrying 168 people crashed in northwestern Iran. All passengers are feared killed.
The Caspian Airline jet, reportedly a Tupolev, had taken off from Tehran on route to the Armenian capital Yerevan when it crashed in the village of Jannatabad outside the city of Qazvin, 75 miles northwest of the capital Tehran, Iranian television reported. Hossein Bahzadpour, the Qazvin emergency services director, told IRNA that the plane shattered to pieces and was completely destroyed leaving the wreckage in flames. “It his highly likely that all the passengers on the flight were killed.”
“The 7908 Caspian flight crashed 16 minutes after its take-off from the International Imam Khomeini Airport,” Reza Jafarzadeh, Iran's Aviation Organization spokesman, told Press TV.
Caspian Airlines is a Russian-Iranian joint venture founded in 1993. Iran suffers frequent airline crashes, which it blames on tough US sanctions that prevent it from purchasing spare parts for old airplanes. Caspian Airlines, however, utilizes Russian-build aircraft allowing it to largely bypass American sanctions.