Iranian plane crashes on runway, 17 dead

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

An Iranian airliner overshot a runway in the Iranian city of Mashhad and crashed into a perimeter wall, smashing the front of the aircraft and leaving 17 dead and 19 injured. This accident occurred less than 10 days after an Iranian airliner en route to the Armenian capital of Yerevan crashed, killing 168 people.

The Aria Aviation Company's Russian-built Ilyushin II-62 airliner landed near the middle of the runway, according to deputy transport minister Ahmad Majidi, and crashed into the perimeter wall before striking power lines and coming to a stop in adjacent farmland. Thirteen of the dead were part of the crew, the rest were passengers. Of the crew members, 9 were citizens of Kazakhstan, and the rest were Iranian citizens. Officials say technical issues might have contributed to the crash.

Following the incident, Iranian state television announced that Aria Airline's flying license was being suspended pending further investigation. Air safety experts accuse Iran of having a poor safety record. International sanctions on Iran have prevented it from buying modern Boeing or Airbus planes and parts. As a result, Iran is forced to use older Russian aircraft which are more prone to accidents.