Crashed Iran Plane Had Been in Storage for 6 Years
Wreckage found near peak of Mount Dena, north of Yasuj
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2018 8:47 AM CST
A rescue helicopter flies over the Dena mountains on Monday while searching for wreckage of a plane that crashed in southern Iran.   (Ali Khodaei/Tasnim News Agency via AP)
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(Newser) – With fog clearing, Iranian authorities have managed their first look at the site where a passenger plane carrying 65 people crashed into Mount Dena after departing Tehran on Sunday. A military drone spotted the wreckage of the Aseman Airlines flight north of Yasuj on Tuesday, and though two helicopters flew over the site, they were unable to land in the rough terrain. Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif tells state TV that the plane hit the peak of the 14,500-foot-tall Mount Dena, then crashed 30 yards down its slopes, per Reuters. Footage aired on state TV showed the tail of the plane, while a still image reportedly showed dead bodies in snow, reports Fox News. Authorities initially said there was little hope of survival for the 59 passengers and six crew members on board, and that message didn't change Tuesday.

Still, family members are waiting for a foot search to confirm their worst fears. In the meantime, some are calling attention to Iran's aging aircraft fleet—blamed on US sanctions blocking the import of parts—and questioning whether the twin-engine turboprop ATR 72 should've even been in the air. First flown in 1993, the plane sat in storage for six years before it was pulled back into operation in November, according to a website operated by the Flight Safety Foundation. "Would you have flown on the same plane?" a man shouted at Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi on Monday, per Reuters. Though Akhoundi says 11 groups of experts are investigating the crash, lawmakers are expected to seek the impeachment of Akhoundi and Labor Minister Ali Rabiei over their response to recent disasters, per the New York Times.

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