Iranian 707 crash lands

A Boeing 707 carrying 157 passengers crash landed and caught fire at Mehrabad Airport on Wednesday night leaving a child dead and several people injured.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  April 21, 2005

An Iranian Boeing 707 carrying 157 passengers crash landed and caught fire at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Wednesday night (20th April) leaving a child dead and several people injured. Shortly after the 707 landed smoke and then flames poured out of the aircraft, which had flown in from the island of Kish, according to Iranian state television. "For unknown reasons it crashed into the river just before the runway," Reza Jafarzadeh, spokesman for Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, told television. "Up to now there have been no reports of fatalities and just one child is missing," he added. Later, IRNA said that the child had died jumping from the plane into the river. It added that many passengers broke arms and legs after jumping from the wreckage because emergency chutes failed to function. Witnesses also reportedly complained that flight attendants abandoned the aircraft before the passengers. "I saw a lot of injured people," an unidentified young man who was a passenger on the flight told state television. "I was so scared I couldn't move. The plane was shaking during the flight." The aeroplane was operated by Saha Airlines, a commercial service owned by Iran's armed forces. State media carried various accounts of the crash. IRNA said a tire burst on landing while a state TV channel said the plane was unable to put down its landing gear due to a technical fault. Another Iranian TV channel said the plane had crashed into a small river before the runway. Speaking to state television, the head of the airline identified only by his second name, Nikoukar, said early indications were that the plane hit a hollow at the start of the runway as it came in to land. Hampered by US sanctions on buying new aircraft and spares, Iran is plagued by frequent air crashes. In February 2004, for instance, 48 people were killed when a Kish Air Fokker-50 crashed on approach to Sharjah Airport.

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