Eleven die as plane crashes in Iran

TEHRAN, March 12, 2018: A Turkish private jet flying a group of young women from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Istanbul crashed on Sunday in heavy rain in a mountainous region of Iran, killing all 11 persons on board, authorities said.

Days earlier, the aircraft carried a bachelorette party bound for Dubai, although it was not clear who was on the plane when it crashed.

Iranian state television quoted a spokesman for the country’s emergency management organisation as saying the plane hit a mountain near Shahr-e Kord and burst into flames. Shahr-e Kord is nearly 370 km south of the capital, Tehran.

The spokesman, Mojtaba Khaledi, later told a website associated with state TV that local villagers had reached the site in the Zagros Mountains and found only badly burned bodies and no survivors. He said DNA tests would be needed to identify the dead.

Villagers said they saw flames coming from the plane’s engine before the crash, according to a report by Iran’s state-run judiciary news agency Mizan.

The plane took off late Sunday afternoon and climbed to a cruising altitude of just over 35,000 feet. A little over an hour later, it rapidly gained altitude and then dropped drastically within minutes, according to FlightRadar24, a flight-tracking website.

The flight took off from Sharjah International Airport, according to the General Civil Aviation Authority in the UAE. A private company that handles public relations for the Sharjah airfield, the home of low-cost airline Air Arabia, declined to comment. Sharjah is a neighbouring emirate of Dubai.