An Iranian passenger plane carrying at least 117 people crashed today in the snowy mountains of western Iran near Khorramabad, officials said.
No details on the number injured or killed were immediately available, nor was there information on the cause of the crash.
Reza Jaafarzadeh, a spokesman for the civil aviation organisation of Iran, said at least 117 passenger and crew had been aboard the plane, flight number 956. “Several search teams have been dispatched to the region,” Mr Jaafarzadeh said.
An official at the Khorramabad governor`s office said rescue teams had identified the mountainous, snow-covered area of the crash.
The Tu-154, a Russian-made Tupolev operated by state-owned Iran Air Tours, left Tehran at 7.30am local time (4am GMT) headed for Khorramabad, about 230 miles (375km) south-west of the capital, state radio reported.
Iran Air Tours in recent years has leased mostly Russian-made Tupolev planes with Russian crew. A Russian-built aircraft, a YAK-40 operated by the private Faraz Qeshm Airlines crashed in north-eastern Iran in May, killing the transport minister and about 30 other passengers including seven politicians. They were on their way to Gorgan, near the Caspian sea, to inaugurate that city`s airport.
Iran also has an aging fleet of US-made Boeings purchased before the 1979 Islamic revolution. The United States has refused to provide spare parts for Boeing planes as part of its wide-ranging economic sanctions against Iran.
Iran has said the US stance on spare parts endangered the lives of innocent passengers.