Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Middle East

Plane catches fire in Iran, injures at least 40

At least 40 Iranians were injured when a Russian-made Tupolev aircraft caught fire as it landed in north-eastern Iran today, state radio said.

"About 42 passengers, out of 157 aboard, were injured when the plane was landing at Mashhad city's airport," said Gholamreza Massoumi, head of Iran's emergency medical services.

There were no fatalities, said Iran's civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh.

The official IRNA news agency said the incident occurred when the rear end of the plane, which belonged to Iran's domestic Taban Airliner, caught fire while landing.

The cause of the incident was being investigated, IRNA said.

In the worst plane crash in Iran in the past six years, a Tupolev aircraft crashed in 2009 in Iran on its way to Armenia, after catching fire mid-air and crashing into farmland killing all 168 people on board.

Iran has suffered a string of crashes in the past few decades, many involving Russian-made aircraft.

US sanctions against Iran have prevented it from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the West, forcing it to add to its ageing fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes with aircraft from Russia and other former Soviet Union states.