An aging Iranian passenger airliner carrying 144 people crash-landed on a runway and skidded onto a major highway next to an airport Monday, the latest crash in the Islamic Republic as US sanctions bar it from buying parts or new aircraft. Authorities said two people suffered injuries in the hard landing of the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 flown by Caspian Airlines in Mahshahr, a city in Iran's oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province, the AP reports. Passengers, apparently in shock, calmly exited the aircraft with their carry-on baggage out of a door near the cockpit and another over the plane's wing, video from Iran's Civil Aviation Network News showed. "We crashed. We crashed but we are unhurt," a male passenger said in Farsi in the video. "My hand is shaking."
Officials told state TV that the pilot "landed the aircraft too late and this caused him to miss the runway," the BBC reports. Provincial airport director Mohammad Reza Rezanian said all of the passengers were safely taken off the plane, which had been flying a route from Tehran, some 380 miles northeast of Mahshahr. The plane carried 136 passengers and eight crew members, authorities said. It seems that tragedy was narrowly avoided, however, as images from the scene showed the plane had ground to a halt not far from a populated area. The plane also missed traffic on a major highway linking Mahshahr to Imam Khomeini Port. The plane involved was more than 25 years old. It had flown for airlines in France, Canada, the US, Colombia, Burkina Faso, and Ukraine before being registered to Caspian Airlines in Aug. 2012.
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