Final farewell to Iran crash victims

Tens of thousands of mourners have packed central Tehran for the mass funeral of those killed in the crash of a decrepit military plane in a densely populated area of Tehran.

    The victims were given full military honours

    The official news agency IRNA has put the latest death toll from the crash at 106, including 68 journalists and photographers who were travelling on the plane to the south of the country to report on army exercises.

    Fifty-five of the 82 charred bodies that the authorities have managed to identify were being buried in Thursday's ceremony, which saw the victims given full military honours and tearful speeches from journalists and officials.

    The Lockheed C-130 transport workhorse - bought from the United States before the Islamic revolution nearly three decades ago and starved of spare parts - crashed in a heavily-populated area in Tehran on Tuesday.

    It plunged into the foot of a high-rise housing block following engine failure immediately after taking off from central Tehran's Mehrabad airport.

    All 94 passengers and crew, besides several people on the ground, were killed.

    Iranian authorities, however, have been facing furious allegations that the plane was forced to take off despite reporting technical problems.

    Iran's air force is believed to have no more than around 15 C-130s in operation.

    SOURCE: AFP


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