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Wed, Mar 29, 2006

Crew Survives As Antonov Cargo Plane Goes Down Near Tehran

Conflicting Stories About Aircraft's Origin

For the third time in four months, a plane has gone down over Iran. The latest accident reportedly involves an Antonov cargo aircraft -- and 12 people that, from the sound of it, were pretty lucky.

Reuters reports the official IRNA news agency says that all 12 crewmembers aboard the aircraft survived the accident, with four of them now in the hospital. They were injured when the plane went down near Karaj, an industrial satellite city west of Tehran.

There are conflicting reports about the aircraft's origin -- with one official from a nearby airport saying the plane was Bulgarian and had taken off from his airport a short time before the accident, whereas a police spokesman said the plane was Armenian in origin, and was overflying the country en route to a destination in the United Arab Emirates when its pilot radioed for an emergency landing.

Just as reports are unclear of the exact kind of aircraft involved (the graphic below is of an Antonov AN-26, a common cargo aircraft in the region), and where it was from... it's also not known yet what caused the plane to go down -- although officials say an engine failure, possibly caused by a bird strike, may have contributed to the problem. Weather conditions were also poor at the time the plane went down, with storms reported in the vicinity of the accident site.

Last December, an Iranian C-130 crashed into a residential highrise in Tehran, killing as many as 115 people. Earlier this year, a Dassault Falcon 20 carrying 13 people went down during an emergency landing attempt. The plane reportedly crash when the landing gear jammed. All onboard the Falcon, including a commander in the Iranian army, were lost. 

FMI: www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/

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