Iran locates wreckage of crashed passenger plane

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Iran on Tuesday located the wreckage of the ATR-72 passenger plane which crashed into the mountains in central Iran two days ago.

Morteza Salimi, chief of Rescue and Welfare Organization, said that the debris of the plane was spotted near Nogol area on the 4,000-meter heights of Dena Mountain, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Ramezan Sharif, spokesman of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), also said the IRGC helicopters found the wreckage on Tuesday morning.

Based on the photos taken by the IRGC helicopters, the logo of the crashed plane was clearly visible on a broken piece, Sharif said.

The incident occurred at latitude 30 degrees 42 minutes 8 seconds north and longtitude 51 degrees 41 minutes 93 seconds east, Sharif added.

Official reports have confirmed that all 66 on board, including six crew members, were killed in the air crash.

Rescue teams have been dispatched to the area, Sharif said, advising locals to avoid moving to the site of the incident.

Meanwhile, the state IRIB TV said some 100 mountaineers were climbing to the location of the accident.

A helicopter pilot who spotted the debris said the plane crashed close to the tip of the mountain, IRIB TV reported.

On Tuesday, Isfahan Province’s emergency center said the mobile phone of a passenger had transmitted signals from a location near Mount Dena where helicopters did not manage to reach the previous day due to bad weather.

Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s minister of information and communications technology, also confirmed that the mobile phone of one of the passengers was on after the crash and was sending signals from an area near the village of Kohangan.

An official of Iran Civil Aviation Organization said the pilot did not declare an emergency situation and the plane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) did not transmit signals after the incident.

After locating the crashed plane, the search teams of the army, IRGC and Red Crescent Society started searching for the bodies of the passengers and the plane’s black box in the area, Salimi told IRIB.

So far, 30 bodies had been found, the IRIB TV reported.

Required equipments were sent to the mountain top to collect bodies, said MohsenMehralizadeh, the governor of Isfahan Province.

The professional mountaineers will carry the corpses down on Wednesday as it is impossible for the helicopters to land in the area, he added.

Mehralizadeh also said the operation might continue until Friday due to the rough and dangerous geographical condition of the mountainous terrain.

In addition, meteorological reports said the weather condition would be unstable in the next few hours and might turn worse in the following days.

Over the past two days, the international community, including Chinese, Russian, Turkish and UN leaders, has offered condolences to the victims and their families.

The Iran Aseman Airlines plane took off from the capital Tehran at 8:00 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) on Sunday and disappeared from the radar screen 50 minutes later in an area which is about 22.4 km from its destination Yasuj city.

Iranian aviation officials said the cause of the crash will be examined and announced after the black box is recovered.

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