Iran teams carry plane crash dead down from mountain


On Sunday, an Iran Aseman Airlines passenger plane flying from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasuj went down in Isfahan's Semirom district, killing all 66 people aboard. The station said the weather had improved and broadcast footage of a helicopter joining the search.

Emergency and rescue helicopter searches for the plane that crashed in a mountainous area of central Iran, on February 19.

There were no survivors among the 65 passengers and crew on the flight. This, along with the plane's resting place on a mountainside, means that the recovery of bodies will be hard.

But the altitude and weather conditions have meant that helicopters can not land to recover the bodies of the dead and they are being brought down on the backs of emergency personnel to a road at the foot of the mountain.

A team of crash investigators from French air safety agency BEA were also due to arrive in Iran on Monday, but their arrival had not yet been confirmed.

The European and US-based companies have agreed to sell 180 planes to Iran's state carrier service, IranAir. It wasn't clear what led to the grounding, though Iran only recently regained access to the airplane parts market after its nuclear deal with world powers.

A pilot told state broadcaster IRIB that he had seen "scattered bodies around the plane" and that it was located at about 4,000m (13,000ft) altitude.

The search and rescue operation started shortly after the tragic incident, but bad weather, including dense fog, snow, and high winds, as well as the remote location of the crash site and rugged terrain hampered the recovery efforts in the Dena mountain range.

Authorities hoped searchers would recover the aircraft's "black boxes" later on Tuesday. The plane disappeared from radar about 50 minutes into flight, just 14 miles from its destination.

The twin-engined turboprop ATR 72 that crashed was over 24 years old.

The incident has reawakened concerns over aviation safety in Iran, which has been exacerbated by global sanctions over the years. It had only been returned to service three months before the crash, after being kept in storage for six years.

There are many routes that Iran could take to ensure the safety of its people from only allowing airlines to fly their most modern planes to allowing foreign airlines with modern fleets to take over the aviation sector, but they have not.