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Half of passengers survive Iranair jet crash

An Iranair passenger plane crashed in the north-west of the country yesterday, but about half of the 95 people on board survived with only light injuries.

The Boeing 727 operated by the national airline crashed at 7.45pm local time (4.15pm GMT), shortly before it was to land in the city of Orumiyeh, 460 miles north-west of the capital, Tehran, said Abbas Mosayebi, a spokesman for the civil aviation organisation.

The semi-official Fars news agency quoted the head of the State Emergency Centre, Gholam Reza Masoumi, as saying 50 people survived with light injuries. There was no information about the fate of the others. Mr Masoumi said heavy snow was complicating rescue efforts and that there was fog in the area. The plane was broken into several pieces, but there was no explosion or fire.

Iran has a history of frequent air accidents blamed on its ageing aircraft and poor maintenance. In July 2009 a Russian-made jetliner crashed in north-west of the country shortly after taking off from the capital, killing all 168 on board.

In February 2003, a Russian-made Ilyushin 76 carrying members of the Revolutionary Guard crashed in the mountains of south-eastern Iran, killing 302 people aboard.

IranAir's fleet includes Boeing and Airbus aircraft, many of them bought before the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution. The airline also has some Russian-made Tupolev 145 jets.