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169 FEARED KILLED IN IRAN PLANE CRASH

Tehran, July 15, 2009

A passenger aircraft crashed in northwestern Iran on Wednesday and up to 169 people on board were feared killed. The Caspian Airlines aircraft was travelling from Tehran to Yerevan in Armenia when it came down near the city of Qazvin.

"153 passengers along with 16 crew were on the plane that crashed," ISNA said, without giving a source. The plane was believed to be a Russian-built Tupolev.

Earlier Iranian state television said that all 150 people on board had been killed.

The plane crashed at 11:33 am (0703 GMT) near the village of Jannatabad outside the city of Qazvin, around 75 miles northwest of Tehran, the official IRNA news agency said.

Iran's English-language Press TV said in a scrolling news headline, "150 people on board crashed Iran plane believed dead".

A fire brigade official earlier told IRNA that everyone on board was killed. IRNA quoted an Iranian aviation spokesman as saying the plane crashed 16 minutes after take-off from the capital's Imam Khomeini International airport.

The Qazvin emergency services director Hossein Bahzadpour said the plane was completely destroyed and shattered to pieces, and the wreckage was in flames. "It's highly likely that all the passengers on the flight were killed," Bahzadpour said.

Caspian Airlines is a Russian-Iranian joint venture founded in 1993.




Tags: Iran | plane | air crash |

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