Plane crashes in Iran, all 66 feared dead

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All 66 people on an Iranian passenger plane were feared dead yesterday after it crashed into the Zagros mountains, with rescue teams struggling to locate the wreckage in a blizzard.

Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 left Teheran around 8am (12.30pm Singapore time) for the city of Yasuj, some 500 km to the south, the airline told state broadcaster IRIB.

The ATR-72 twin-engine plane, in service since 1993, disappeared from radar around 45 minutes after takeoff.

The plane was carrying 60 passengers, including one child, as well as six crew, said airline spokesman Mohammad Tabatabai.

"After searches in the area, unfortunately we were informed that the plane crashed. Unfortunately, our dear ones lost their lives in this incident," he said.

But he later retracted his statement, telling the ISNA news agency: "We still have no access to the spot of the crash and therefore we cannot accurately and definitely confirm the death of all passengers." - AFP