An Iranian passenger plane has crashed in northwest of Tehran, near the city of Qazvin with all on board confirmed dead.
Qazvin Police Chief Hossein Behzadpour and Mohammad Reza Montazer Khorasan, the head of the disaster management centre in Iran’s health ministry, both confirmed that all 168 people on board have been killed in the crash.
The Tupolev plane went down near Jannat-abad village near Qazvin at 11:33 am local time on Wednesday after it took off from the Iranian capital Tehran to fly to Yerevan in Armenia.
“The 7908 Caspian flight crashed 16 minutes after its takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA),” said Iran’s Aviation Organization Spokesman, Reza Jafarzadeh.
Members of Iran’s Junior Judo squad — eight athletes and two coaches — were among those killed in the crash.
“The aircraft all of a sudden fell out of the sky and exploded on impact, where you see the crater,” a witness told Press TV from the crash site near Jannat-abad
the plane’s two black boxes to determine the cause of the crash was located Thursday.
Managing director of Iran’s airport authority said all the conversations between the pilot and the ground was normal and did not indicate any technical glitch. However, witnesses say the plane caught fire before crashing.
The list of the crash’s victims shows most of the passengers were Iranians and Armenians.
The crash caused an explosion which left an indentation 10 meters deep in the ground while pieces of the aircraft spread over an area of 200 square meters.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed condolences to the victims’ families.
Ahmadinejad has ordered the Roads and Transportation Ministry to launch a probe into the disaster.
The black box was discovered on Thursday.
The European Union and its Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana extended their condolences to the people and government of Iran in separate statements on Wednesday.