Press TV – Iranian rescue workers have spotted the bodies of 30 passengers of an Aseman Airliner that crashed with 66 people on board in the country’s mountainous southwest on Sunday.
Mountain climbers and rescue workers who had reached the site of the plane crash said on Tuesday that 15 of the bodies were identifiable, Fars news agency reported.
According to eyewitnesses, the plane is probably buried under avalanche.
Moreover, rescue and search operation at the 4,500 meter altitude is becoming extremely difficult due to the steep slope of the site of the crash as well as the two-meter snow in the area. Meanwhile, more snowfall is expected in the coming hours.
At present, seven helicopters as well as nearly 100 rescue workers and mountain climbers, including Himalayan climbers, are continuing the search operation in the area.
Earlier in the day, Iranian forces had located the wreckage of the plane.
Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif, spokesman for Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), told the Tasnim news agency that helicopters had spotted the wreckage on Tuesday morning.
The head of the Isfahan Province medical emergency center said that helicopters could not land at the crash site to transfer the bodies due to adverse weather and topographical conditions.
The captain of the helicopter that spotted the wreckage said the plane had crashed 30 meters below a hilltop.
The fuselage has been broken into pieces and only a part bearing Aseman Airlines logo is visible, he added.
An official of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) had said earlier that 80 search teams were conducting an operation at Mount Dena in the Zagros mountain range after weather conditions improved.
Four IRCS helicopters had flown over the region as part of efforts to find the crash site, he added.
Iran’s Air Force F-14 fighter jets also flew over Dena Mount while army parachutists and commandos along with mount climbers continued the ground search and rescue operations.
The Aseman Airlines ATR-72 plane was flying from the Iranian capital, Tehran, to the southwestern city of Yasuj on Sunday when it disappeared 50 minutes into the flight around the town of Semirom in Isfahan Province.
Meanwhile, the Isfahan Province emergency center said that a mobile phone had transmitted signals from a location near Mount Dena where helicopters did not manage to reach the previous day due to bad weather.
Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, also confirmed that the mobile phone of one of the passengers had been on after the crash and was sending signals from an area near the village of Kohangan.
An official at Iran Civil Aviation Organization said that the pilot had not declared an emergency situation and that the plane’s Emergency locator transmitter (ELT) had not transmitted signals after the incident.