Several Iranian MPs have called for the resignation or impeachment of Iran's Transport Minister, Ahmad Khorram, following a plane crash with 117 aboard in a mountainous region near the western city of Khorramabad early Tuesday morning, said the Iranian official news agency (IRNA).
The Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) has confirmed the crash, but there is no official word yet on the cause of the crash and probable casualties.
The Russian-made Tupolev-154 owned by the Iran Air Tours which is an affiliate of the national flag-carrier Iran Air, disappeared from radar screens almost an hour after taking off from Mehrabad International Airport at 06:30 (0300 GMT), the head of the public relations office of the CAO, Reza Ja'farzadeh, said.
"In Kuwait, an oil well gets fire and four people are burnt, its oil minister resigns after taking responsibility for that. In Iran, many planes crash and nobody feels accountable," the MP from western Islamabad-e Gharb, Aazam Nasseri-Pour said.
Another MP from Sepidan, Gholamreza Barzgar, said call for Khorram's impeachment had mounted in the parliament, while his colleague, Mohammad Saqqai criticized the head of the Civil Aviation Organization, Behzad Mazaheri, saying he was incompetent for his post.
The Chequini district governor, Ali Biranvand, said that part of the debris, belonging to the crashed plane, had been found in the Sefidkouh mountains.
"The plane crashed in Sefidkouh mountains after striking the Galich valley," he said, adding, "So far, parts of the plane, including its wheels and several seats, have been found.
"The crash of the plane was reported by several miners who were working near Galich valley," the official said. Efforts to reach the crash site have been hampered because of the area being inaccessible, Biranvand said, adding the provincial governor office had asked for helicopters to be sent for the search operations.
According to the CAO officials, the plane lost radio contact with Khorramabad airport where it was heading minutes before the crash and efforts to reestabli! sh contact were of no avail. A search team has been formed and dispatched to the crash site by the CAO, they added.
Ja'farzadeh put the number of those on board at 117, but government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh has said 118 were aboard the plane, with 105 passengers and the rest crew.
Meanwhile, President Mohammad Khatami has ordered a special task force to be formed at the CAO to look into the crash incident, said government spokesman Ramezanzadeh. "According to an order issued by the president, all organizations and related bodies are obliged to cooperate with this team," he said, adding the cause of the crash is under investigation.
The wreckage of the plane, Ramezanzadeh said, has been found in the Darreh Sarab region, near Khorramabad which is located 400 km southwest of Tehran in Lorestan province. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )