A regional passenger plane assembled in Iran crashed today while taking off from the country's capital, Tehran, killing 39 and injuring another nine onboard, according to a transportation official and state media. Deputy Minister of Transportation Ahmad Majidi provided the latest casualty figures on state TV. The channel earlier reported that all 48 people onboard had died. The aircraft, an IrAn-140 typically used for short domestic flights, crashed near Tehran's Mehrabad airport. The plane went down in a residential area after one of its engines went out, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported.
The plane was operated by Sepahan Air and was heading to Tabas, a town in eastern Iran. It took off at 9:20am and crashed shortly afterward. State TV said the bodies of some of the victims were so badly burned that they could not be identified. Members of the Revolutionary Guard worked to secure the crash site and rescue personnel combed the wreckage as onlookers gathered shortly after the plane went down. The plane's mangled but largely intact tail section was torn from the fuselage and came to rest on a nearby road. Iran has suffered a series of airplane crashes, blamed on its aging aircraft and poor maintenance; US sanctions prevent Iran from updating its American aircraft and make it difficult to get European spare parts or planes as well. (Read more Sepahan Air stories.)