Iran teams find wreckage of plane in Zagros mountains

Iran plane crash wreckage 'found on mountain'

65 people aboard an Aseman Airlines plane are presumed dead after it crashed into an Iranian mountain on Sunday.

Morteza Salimi, head of Rescue and Welfare Organization of Iran's Red Crescent Society, confirmed Tuesday that the wreckage of the ill-fated plane had been spotted by a military helicopter near the Nogol village at about 4,000 meters in the Dena mountain in central Iran's Isfahan province.

The Aseman Airlines' spokesperson said all the 59 passengers and 6 crew members have been killed. Rescue workers said they were having difficulty landing air ambulances near the crash site because of heavy fog. "We do not know anything about the crash", Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency shortly after his arrival in Semirom. The ATR-72 airplane crashing on Sunday had a tail number of EP-ATS and was built in 1993 according to CEO of Aseman Airlines Ali Abedzadeh.

The plane left Tehran at 8.05 AM local time on Sunday for an internal journey of 560 kilometers according to the airline's official statement.

2017 was the safest year in commercial aviation history, however 2018 seems to have gotten to a very bad start.

ATR, the joint venture between Airbus and Italy's Leonardo which manufactured the plane, said the reason of the accident was not yet known.

In April 2017, ATR sealed a $536-million sale with Iran Air for at least 20 aircraft. Authorities initially said the crash killed 66. A drone was also used to spot the plane. It said the plane was flying from Tehran to the southern Iranian city of Yasuj.

Iran has suffered several plane crashes in recent decades.

A deal with world powers on Iran's nuclear program has lifted some of those sanctions, opening the way for Iranian airlines to update their fleets but many older planes are still in service, particularly on domestic routes. Aseman Airlines was blacklisted by the European Commission in December 2016.

Todd Curtis, founder of the website AirSafe.com said Iran was able to keep its planes flying despite sanctions that made it more hard to buy parts or new aircraft, but that the aviation sector was not able to benefit from working with others in the industry from around the world.

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