Several killed in Iran plane blaze

At least 17 people killed after plane catches fire in the country's north east.

    The plane was carrying 153 passengers when it burst into flames and skidded of a runway in Iran

    Ghahreman Rashid, the deputy governor of Khorasan province, said: "All the dead and injured people and passengers have been evacuated and the fire has been completely controlled."

    Aviation disasters

    The aircraft was reportedly run by independent Iranian firm Aria Air which offers flights from the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas to Tehran as well as from Mashhad, a popular Shia Muslim pilgrimage centre.

    The incident comes after a Caspian Airlines plane crashed on July 15 near the city of Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, killing all 168 on board.

    Iran has suffered a number of aviation disasters over the past decade as it struggles under years of international sanctions which have hampered its ability to buy modern Boeing or Airbus planes.

    Its civil and military fleet is made up of old aircraft in very poor condition and lacking maintenance.

    US sanctions prevent Iran from updating its 30-year-old American aircraft and also make it difficult to get European spare parts or planes.

    The country relies on Russian aircraft, many of them Soviet-era planes that are harder to get parts for since the fall of the Soviet Union.

    In another Iranian air disaster, 117 people were killed when their Russian-designed Tupolev plane crashed  into snow-covered mountains in the west of the country in 2002.

    Iran's worst crash came in February 2003 when a plane, also a Russian-made Ilyushin, ploughed into mountains in southeastern Iran killing 302 aboard - mostly members of the elite Revolutionary Guard.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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