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Russian-Made Jetliner Goes Down In Iran

168 Passengers And Crew Reported Lost

ANN Realtime Update 7.15.09, 1922 EDT: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the deputy head of the Armenian civil aviation organization told reporters that the pilot had attempted an emergency landing after an engine caught fire. Witnesses said the plane appeared to be on fire before impacting the ground. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan cut short a visit to the provinces after the accident was announced on television.

Original Story: An Iranian airliner went down in a field near Tehran about 16 minutes after takeoff Wednesday, killing all on board, according to Iranian state television. The Russian-made Tu-154 was completely destroyed, gouging what was described as a deep trench in the ground. 

According the The Associated Press, the Caspian Airlines Jet departed from Tehran for the Armenian capital of Yerevan, about 75 miles northwest.

Iran and Russia formed Caspian Airlines 1993.  AP reports the airline experiences frequent crashes, which the Iranian government blames on the U.S. sanctions it says prevents the country from getting spare parts for maintenance. The airline, however, flies primarily Russian Tupolev aircraft, which would be less effected by any U.S. Embargo.

AP says a Caspian Airlines employee reported that most if the passengers were Armenians and Georgians. 8 members of the Iranian national youth Judo team and two trainers were also on board. The employee asked to remain anonymous because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

FMI: www.caspian-air.com

 


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