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77 killed in Iran air crash

world Updated: Jan 11, 2011 02:02 IST

Reuters
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At least 77 people were killed in Sunday's passenger plane crash in northwestern Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

The Iran Air Boeing 727 crashed while attempting to land in bad weather with 106 on board, officials said. At least eight of the injured were in a critical condition.

Ahmad Majidi, head of the crisis management office at the Transport Ministry, told ISNA news agency that the flight had taken off from Tehran in good visibility.

By the time the plane arrived in the city of Urumiyeh, in a mountainous area near the border with Turkey, about 1,000 km northwest of the capital, there was zero visibility due to snow and fog, state TV said.

Lights went out
Survivor Hossein Haqiqi said the pilot announced an emergency landing. "Then, exactly like in the movies, the plane hit the ground and the lights went out. I fainted and was not conscious of anything," ISNA quoted him as saying.

Another passenger, Nasrin Fatahzadeh, said rescuers cut through the plane's seats to pull her free.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered an accelerated investigation while IRNA reported the plane's black box flight recorder had been found.

State television showed the wreckage of the plane, which appeared to have broken into several sections on impact. Huge gaps were torn in the fuselage.