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15 People Killed In Iranian Cargo Plane Crash

By Orkhan Jalilov January 17, 2019

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A Boeing 707 cargo plane belonging to the Iranian army, meant to land at the Payam International Airport, made an emergency landing and crashed in Fath Airport in the town of Safadasht located in the central province of Alborz, on the morning of January 14. The airport was not outfitted to handle big planes, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported, resulting in the crash. / IRNA news agency

Fifteen passengers have been killed in a crash of an Iranian cargo plane on the outskirts of the capital Tehran. Only one person survived the crash.

A Boeing 707 cargo plane belonging to the Iranian army, meant to land at the Payam International Airport, made an emergency landing and crashed in Fath Airport in the town of Safadasht located in the central province of Alborz, on the morning of January 14. The airport was not outfitted to handle big planes, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported, resulting in the crash.

The pilot was unable to control the aircraft in bad weather conditions, which led to the exit of the plane from the end of the runway and hit the airport wall, only to enter a house close to the airport. No casualties inside the house occurred, as it was empty at the time of the incident.

Investigations are still underway to find any other probable casualties. The public relations office of the Iranian Army confirmed in a statement that the aircraft belonged to the army, and all on board were Iranian citizens. The plane was carrying 30 tons of meat from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The head of the emergency department of the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization, Mehrdad Alibakhshi, told Iranian Students News Agency (IRNA) that one of the 16 people on board the plane, namely the flight engineer, was known to have survived and had been taken to the hospital.

According to Alborz province’s Legal Medicine General Director, Hamid Davudabadi, the death toll included 14 men and 1 woman, adding that 10 bodies are identifiable. 

Most planes currently belonging to the Iranian airlines, including those of the military, were purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Most Iranian jets were banned from the EU's skies in 2010 after an increase in accidents due to mechanical failures involving Iranian owned and operated planes.

Iran had hoped to replace its aging fleets or obtaining spare parts under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, but the U.S.’ withdrawal from the agreement in May 2018 has scuttled roughly $39 billion in planned sales by Airbus and Boeing, increasing the dangers for passengers on Iranian planes and prolonging the already overdue shelf life of the country’s aging fleets.

In December 2016, Airbus Group signed a deal to supply national carrier Iran Air with 100 airplanes for around $19 billion. In the same month, Boeing inked a deal with Iran Air for 80 aircraft with a list price of about $17 billion, promising that deliveries would begin in 2017 and run until 2025. The company separately signed a 30 airplane deal with Iran’s Aseman Airlines for $3 billion.  

In 2017, the Iranian defense ministry signed a contract with Russia for purchase of several Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) passenger planes. At the time, 30 new purchases were under consideration.