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Thursday, 20 February 2003

NO SURVIVORS IN IRAN PLANE CRASH

Published in News Digest
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By empty (2/20/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Rescue teams in Iran have found parts of the military transport aircraft that crashed in the south-east of the country, and confirmed that there were no survivors. There were 302 people, including 18 crew, on board the Russian-built Ilyushin plane on an internal flight from Zahedan to Kerman, making it Iran\'s worst plane crash. Radio contact was lost shortly before the plane came down in bad weather, with the pilot speaking of strong winds.
Rescue teams in Iran have found parts of the military transport aircraft that crashed in the south-east of the country, and confirmed that there were no survivors. There were 302 people, including 18 crew, on board the Russian-built Ilyushin plane on an internal flight from Zahedan to Kerman, making it Iran\'s worst plane crash. Radio contact was lost shortly before the plane came down in bad weather, with the pilot speaking of strong winds. All the passengers were members of the elite Republican Guards. The Russian news agency Itar-Tass identified the plane as an Ilyushin Il-76 - a model originally designed in the late 1960s. The plane lost contact with air traffic control at about 1730 local time (1400 GMT). There had been heavy snow in the region. The plane came down about 35km (22 miles) southeast of Kerman. According to a local official in Zahedan, quoted by the Associated Press news agency, the Guards had been in the city to prepare for a visit by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guard, which was formed soon after the overthrow of the Shah and the creation of the Islamic republic more than 20 years ago, is seen as a staunch defender of Iran\'s Islamic regime. IRNA said that some of the dead were believed to be senior security officials. There has been a series of disasters in Iran involving mainly Russian-built planes. Up to half of Iran\'s transport aircraft are believed to be of Russian design, and correspondents say they have a poor safety record. US sanctions have left Iran increasingly dependent on an aging fleet, acquired from the former Soviet Union. Three of them have crashed in the past two years, killing an estimated 200 people. The most recent disaster was in December when a new Ukrainian plane flew into a mountain, killing more than 40 scientists on board, as it was preparing to land in Isfahan, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of the capital Tehran. (BBC)
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