x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Iran plane overshoots runway

Sixteen people were killed when an Iranian airliner overshot the runway and hurtled into a perimeter wall in Mashhad.

Nine Kazakhs were among 16 people killed when an Iranian airliner overshot the runway and hurtled into a perimeter wall, the official IRNA news agency cited an Iranian aviation official as saying. "Sixteen people were killed, three were passengers and the rest were crew, nine of whom were from Kazakhstan," Reza Jafarzadeh, the spokesman for the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation, told reporters in the northeastern city of Mashhad, where the crash occured.

The other four crew members who died were Iranians, as were the three passengers lost their lives in Friday's crash, he said. Mashhad, Iran's second city, is a Shiite Muslim pilgrimage destination as it was the burial place of the eighth Shiite Imam, Reza. "The plane was carrying 153 passengers, and 31 were wounded in the incident," Mr Jafarzadeh said, adding that the plane belonged to Kazakhstan but was chartered to Iranian carrier Aria Airline.

The CAO spokesman said a team of experts are investigating the incident and the public will be notified soon about the cause of the incident. Iranian media are reporting that the managing director of Aria Airline, Mehdi Dadpey, was among those killed in the incident. A senior transport official said the incoming aircraft had overshot the runway. "Instead of landing at the beginning of the tarmac, the plane landed in the middle of the runway," the ISNA news agency quoted deputy transport minister Ahmad Majidi as saying.

"Because the tarmac's length is short, it went off the tarmac and crashed into the opposite wall. On Friday the media reported that 17 people were killed when the Russian-designed Ilyushin 62 struck the wall. The collision occurred 10 days after another air disaster when a Caspian Airlines plane crashed near the city of Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, killing all 168 on board. Iran has been under years of international sanctions hampering its ability to buy modern Boeing or Airbus planes and it has suffered a number of aviation disasters over the past decade.

Its civil and military fleets are made up of ancient aircraft in poor condition because of their age and lack of maintenance. *AFP