Sharjah to Istanbul flight leaves 11 badly burned bodies in the wreckage

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A Turkish private jet flying from Sharjah, an Emirates in the UAE  to Istanbul carrying a group of young women crashed Sunday night in a mountainous region of Iran during a heavy rain, killing all 11 people on board, authorities said.

The Turkish jet suddenly disappeared from the radar while passing through Iran’s airspace and crashed near the Iranian city of Shahrekord in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province Sunday evening, IRNA quoted Reza Jafarzadeh as saying.

The official added that the agency was investigating the incident.

Mojtaba Khaledi, the spokesman of the National Disaster Management Organization of Iran, said the plane hit a mountain near Shahrekord and burst into flames.

Rescuers were trying to reach the crash site but the terrain was mountainous making their approach difficult.

Turkey’s private Dogan News Agency identified the plane as a Bombardier CL604, tail number TC-TRB.

Turkey’s NTV channel quoted the Turkish Transport Ministry as saying that the plane belonged to the Istanbul-based Basaran Holding Company, which is active in the energy, construction and tourism sectors.

Meanwhile, the President of the Turkish Red Crescent Kerem Kinik said on his Twitter account that all eight passengers on board the plane were killed in the crash.

Villagers near the crash earlier said they saw flames coming from the plane’s engine before the crash, according to a report by Iran’s state-run judiciary news agency Mizan.

The plane took off from Sharjah International Airport around 4:41 p.m. (1311 GMT; 9:11 a.m. EST) Sunday and reached a cruising altitude of just over 35,000 feet, according to FlightRadar24, a flight-tracking website. At around 6:01 p.m. (1431 GMT; 10:31 a.m. EST), something appears to have gone wrong with the flight as it rapidly gained altitude and then dropped drastically within minutes, data published by the website showed.

Turkey’s private Dogan News Agency identified the plane as a Bombardier CL604, tail number TC-TRB. Turkey’s Transport Ministry said the plane belongs to a company named Basaran Holding, which The Associated Press could not immediately reach.

Basaran Investment Holding is active in the food, finance, energy, construction, tourism and travel industries, according to the company’s website.

Khaledi later told a website associated with state TV that local villagers had reached the site in the Zagros Mountains and found 11 badly burned bodies in the wreckage. He said DNA tests would be needed to identify the dead.

The flight likely carried Mina Basaran, the 28-year-old daughter of the chairman of Basaran Investment Holding, and her friends who had celebrated her bachelorette party in nearby Dubai. Turkey’s Transport Ministry said the aircraft belonged to Basaran Investment Holding, which The Associated Press has not been able to reach since the crash.

Basaran recently posted photographs on the photo-sharing app Instagram of what appeared to be her bachelorette party, which included eight women. Iranian authorities previously said the flight’s passengers were all young women.

Among those photographs was an image of the plane posted three days ago. In it, Basaran posed on the tarmac carrying flowers, wearing a denim jacket reading “Mrs. Bride” and the hashtag “#bettertogether.” In another picture, she holds heart-shaped balloons inside the plane.

On Saturday, Basaran posted a picture with seven smiling friends from a Dubai resort. The last videos posted to her account showed her enjoying a concert by the British pop star Rita Ora at a popular Dubai nightclub.

Families of the victims arrived Monday in Shahr-e Kord, accompanied by Turkish diplomats, IRNA reported.

It remains unclear what caused the crash, though a witness told state television the Bombardier CL604 was on fire before it hit the mountain.

The Black Box was recovered and should reveal more details on the crash.