Rescuers reach plane crash site in Iran mountains

Rescue teams reached the snow-capped mountains of southern Iran on Monday, where a plane carrying 65 people crashed the day before.

A group of relatives of passengers of an Iran Aseman Airline flight gathers around a mosque at the Mehr-Abad airport in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday after reports that the plane had crashed. Photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE
A group of relatives of passengers of an Iran Aseman Airline flight gathers around a mosque at the Mehr-Abad airport in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday after reports that the plane had crashed. Photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE

The 59 passengers, two flight attendants, two pilots and two members of security forces aboard the commercial Aseman Airlines flight are presumed dead.

Press TV reported that rescue teams reached the 14,400-foot high crash site before dawn on Monday, with improving weather conditions allowing helicopters to fly over the mountainous area.

The ATR-72 plane, a twin-engine turboprop, was traveling from the capital Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasuj.

Up to 26 teams of mountain climbers scoured the area on Monday looking for debris.

The aircraft was brought back into service only months ago after being grounded for seven years. It had been barred from buying necessary airplane parts due to sanctions over its contested nuclear program.

It’s not yet clear what caused the crash although the weather was severe.

By Sommer Brokaw