Search Operation Underway in Iran to Find Wreckage of Crashed Plane

Members of emergency and rescue team search for the plane that crashed in a mountainous area of central Iran

Search and rescue teams have reached the site of a plane crash in Iran that authorities say killed all 65 people on board.

The Aseman Airlines ATR-72 twin turboprop plane was on its way from Mehrabad airport in Iran's capital city of Tehran to the city of Yasuj, located 485 miles (780 km) to the south.

Local officials in Semirom said the crash site was hard to reach and rescue helicopters had been unable to land because of heavy fog and rain.

Aseman Airlines said all on board Flight EP3704 were killed, including six crew members.

The plane was carrying 60 passengers, including one child, as well as six crew, he added here on Sunday.

Bad weather condition has hindered Iranian rescue teams' search for the wreckage of the plane.

He also said the ATR-72 plane has been operating around the world for 25 years, and that while it has been involved in deadly crashes before, "there has been no ongoing issue, no ongoing controversy with anything about the design of the aircraft or fundamental faults with how the aircraft is handled by airlines". The site is reportedly at a height of 3,500 meters (11,500 feet). State radio said five helicopters and five drones are active in the search operation.

IS takes Damascus in surprise night time attack killing 36 Syrian troops
Rebels entrenched in a region east of Damascus known as eastern Ghouta frequently fire rockets and mortar shells at the capital. The Observatory says 36 pro-government fighters were killed in clashes, and dozens more wounded or captured.

The statement comes immediately after a source told Sputnik that experts had found some debris of the Iranian passenger plane that crashed on Sunday. No news yet on those who were on board the plane.

Iran has suffered a series of major aviation disasters in recent decades.

"I take this opportunity to send condolences to the families of the 66 civilians that lost their lives", Netanyahu said at the Munich Security Conference.

Todd Curtis, founder of the website AirSafe.com said Iran was able to keep its planes flying despite sanctions that made it more hard to buy parts or new aircraft, but that the aviation sector was not able to benefit from working with others in the industry from around the world.

However, the sale could be scuppered if US President Donald Trump chooses to reimpose sanctions in the coming months, as he has threatened to do.

The US has maintained its own sanctions on Iran, blocking nearly all trade with the country, but plane manufacturers were given a specific exemption under the nuclear deal.

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