Sharjah-Istanbul plane crash crew named as black box recovered in Iran
The deceased include one of the Turkish Air Force's first female pilots
The three crew members who died alongside eight passengers when a flight from Sharjah to Istanbul crashed on Sunday have been named. It came as Iranian investigators announced the discovery of the plane's black box.
Turkey's Dogan News Agency named the crew as pilot Beril Gebes, co-pilot Melike Kuvvet and cabin crew member Eda Uslu. It said the plane was one of two private jets owned by Huseyin Basaran, the father of Mina Basaran, who died onboard with her seven friends while returning to Turkey from a hen party trip to the UAE.
Gebes previously flew for Turkish Airlines, while Kuvvet was one of the Turkish Air Force's first female pilots before she joined the private sector. Uslu had worked as a flight attendant for Basaran for the last year after 10 years as ground staff with TAV Airports.
Shortly before the crash, the aircraft was given permission by Iranian air traffic control to climb from 36,000 feet (around 11,000 meters) to 37,000 ft (11,300 meters), the agency said.
Hakan Tekin, the Turkish ambassador to Tehran, said all 11 bodies had now been found.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported that Turkish air accident investigators and a team from the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate would be flown to Iran on a military flight.
The Associated Press reported that Iranian authorities had recovered the flight's black box from the crash site in the Zagros Mountains outside of the city of Shahr-e Kord, some 370 kilometers south of Iran's capital, Tehran.
Heavy rains and wind in the mountain range since the crash Sunday made it impossible for helicopters to land in the area, though officials hoped to bring the bodies down from the mountain later in the day.
Families of the victims arrived Monday in Shahr-e Kord, accompanied by Turkish diplomats, IRNA reported.
The flight took off Sunday from Sharjah International Airport in the UAE. A little over an hour into the flight, the aircraft rapidly gained altitude and then dropped drastically within minutes, according to FlightRadar24, a flight-tracking website.
It remains unclear what caused the crash, though a witness told state television the Bombardier CL604 was on fire before it hit the mountain.
The black box will help investigators trying to piece together what happened. That equipment, typically painted in a bright colour to allow searchers to easily find it, records cockpit conversations and radio transmissions, as well as other data from a flight.
Basaran recently posted photographs on the photo-sharing app Instagram of what appeared to be her bachelorette party, which included eight women. Iranian authorities previously said the flight's passengers were all young women.
The crash came less than a month after an Iranian ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short regional flights, crashed in southern Iran, killing all 65 people onboard.
Updated: March 12, 2018 03:49 PM