The entire 65 passengers and crew in an Iranian airplane are reportedly feared dead after the plane crashed in central Iran on Sunday.
Reuters reports that the plane crashed after the domestic flight flying to the southwestern city of Yasuj came down in bad weather in a mountainous region.
A spokesperson for Iranian carrier Aseman Airlines told state television everyone was killed, but the airline later issued a statement saying it could not reach the crash site and could not “accurately and definitely confirm” everyone died.
There are 60 passengers and six crew members on the flight, the airline initially said, but it later said there were a total of 65 people on board, as one passenger had missed the flight.
The plane crashed near the town of Semirom after taking off from Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, Reuters reports, adding that bad weather prevented helicopters searching the probable crash site as emergency workers were scouring the mountainous area by land.
“It is getting colder and darker and still no sign of the plane,” a television reporter accompanying rescue teams searching snow-covered areas in Mount Dena which has more than 40 peaks higher than 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) said.
The plane reportedly disappeared from radar screens 50 minutes after taking off from Mehrabad airport in the southwest of the capital, reports said.
Worried relatives of passengers gathered at Yasuj airport, Reuters reports.
“I kept telephoning all morning but they (the relative) wouldn’t answer. So I called my brother and he said they will get here, it (the plane) is not behind schedule yet,” a young woman told a reporter for state television.
“I told him it is raining here. He said no (meaning, don’t worry). He called later and said the plane had crashed.”
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani already issued messages of condolences, asking the transport minister to lead an investigation into the crash.
In February 2003, the nation experienced one of its worst air mishaps when an Iranian Ilyushin-76 troop carrier crashed in southeast Iran.
Reports said all 276 Revolutionary Guard soldiers and crew in the plane were killed.