An Iranian commercial plane crashed on Sunday in a foggy, mountainous region of southern Iran, killing all 65 people on board, state media reported. An Aseman Airlines ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short-distance regional flying, went down near its destination of the Iranian city of Yasuj, some 485 miles south of Tehran, reports the AP. Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai told state TV that all on Flight No. EP3704 were killed. "After searching the area, we learned that unfortunately ... our dear passengers had lost their lives," Tabatabai said. The number of dead was initially reported as 66, but one passenger apparently failed to board the doomed flight. Tabatabai said the plane crashed into Mount Dena, which is about 14,435 feet tall. Due to foggy conditions, rescue helicopters couldn't reach the crash site in the Zagros Mountains.
Aseman Airlines, owned by Iran's civil service pension foundation, is a semi-private air carrier headquartered in Tehran that specializes in flights to remote airfields across the country. It also flies internationally, but is banned from flying in the European Union over safety concerns. The carrier has a fleet of 29 aircraft, including six ATR aircraft, according to FlightRadar24, a plane-tracking website. The ATR-72 that crashed Sunday had been built in 1993, Aseman Airlines CEO Ali Abedzadeh told state TV. The plane took off from Tehran at 0433 GMT and gave its last signal at 0555 GMT, when the flight was at 16,975 feet and descending, FlightRadar24 said. The Iranian Red Crescent said it has deployed to the area. Under decades of international sanctions, Iran's commercial passenger aircraft fleet has aged, with air accidents occurring regularly in recent years.