TEHRAN, August 10 /ITAR-TASS/. Head of Iran's General Inspectorate Organization Nasser Seraj has set up a special commission to investigate the crash of an Iranian airliner near Tehran on Sunday, which left at least 39 people dead, the local news agency Fars reported.
An Antonov An-140 plane with about 50 people aboard, including seven children, took off from Tehran at 9:20 a.m. local time (4:50 GMT) on Sunday to the eastern city of Tabas. The plane crashed several minutes after its flight five km (three miles) from the Iranian capital’s western outskirts, according to media reports.
Eye-witnesses say the pilot lost control of the aircraft already at the last meters of the runway and the plane touched the surface. However, the pilot managed to take off and the plane flew for several minutes.
Nine passengers were reported to have survived the crash and were taken to nearby hospitals.
The airliner, which belonged to the local Sepahan Air airline, was presumably an Iranian-assembled plane, IrAn-140, the local media reported.
The Iranian company HESA has been assembling planes of this type since 2001, using parts supplied by Ukraine’s Antonov aircraft-building company.
Sepahan Air, which operates airliners of this type, had five such planes in its fleet as of today.
The Al Arabiya TV channel reported that Iranian airliners had been exploited for an average of 22 years at least.