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Plane crash in Iran kills 168 people

Last updated on: July 15, 2009 17:56 IST

About 168 people have been killed in a plane crash in north west of Iran, state television reported on Wednesday.

The official IRNA news agency said that the aircraft was traveling from Tehran to Yerevan in Armenia.

'The flight crashed 16 minutes after its take-off from the International Imam Khomeini Airport,' said Iran's Aviation Organisation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh.

According to Sky News, the Caspian Airlines jet came down near Jannatabad village, outside Qazvin city, about 75 miles north west of Tehran.

Qazvin emergency services director Hossein Bahzadpour told IRNA that the aircraft was completely destroyed and shattered to pieces, and the wreckage was in flames.

According to The Telegraph, Iran has suffered a number of aviation disasters over the past decade. Dozens of people were killed in September 2006 when an airliner came off the runway after landing in the eastern city of Mashhad and burst into flames.

In November 2006, an Iranian military aircraft crashed on takeoff at Tehran's Mehrabad airport, killing all 39 people on board, including 30 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards force.

Caspian Airlines is a Russian-Iranian joint venture founded in 1993.

Source: ANI