Iranian plane crashes over United Arab Emirates killing at least 43; Three survivors reported
An Iranian airliner crashed Tuesday near Sharjah airport in the United Arab Emirates upon arrival, killing at least 43 people. Local media reported that there were also survivors, who were being treated at a hospital.
Reports said three survived among some 40 passengers aboard the Russian-made Kish Airline plane that crashed and burst into flames in the emirate of Sharjah, state television reported.
"There are 43 bodies and three survivors in critical condition, but this number is not final," Sharjah police chief Colonel al-Mutawa said. "All casualties are from the plane," he added.
Of the 46 people aboard, 43 were killed, said Col. Saleh Ali al-Mutawaa, general director of Sharjah Police. He identified them as 19 Iranians, 12 Indians, four Egyptians, two Filipinos, two Algerians, one Syrian, one Chinese, one Nigerian and one Bangladeshi.
The plane, flying to Sharjah from the Iranian island of Kish, crashed at 11:40 a.m. in an open area about two miles from the airport, said Ghanem al-Hajiry, director general of civil aviation and the Sharjah Airport Authority. The cause of the crash was not known, he said.
No one on the ground was injured, Al-Hajiry added. Witnesses said the aircraft crashed on a road near an upper-class residential neighborhood.
Several dead bodies were shown in footage of the burning fuselage. One crumpled body lay several yards from the wreck, another lay broken amid smashed seats.
A long line of dead bodies were displayed covered by red blankets as rescue crews wearing surgical masks over their mouths battled through thick black smoke while firemen doused the wreckage with water hoses.
Local television reports showed flaming wreckage and rescue helicopters landing near the scene. 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.
"A passenger plane belonging to Kish Airlines came down between Ajman and Sharjah," the television said. The flight had come from the Iranian Gulf island of Kish when it went down in an open area in the United Arab Emirates.
The type of aircraft was not immediately clear, however according to its website, Kish Airlines operates the Dutch-built Fokker 50 turboprop, which has a capacity of up to 50, and the larger three-jet Tupolev 154M of Soviet origin. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)