65 people aboard an Aseman Airlines plane are presumed dead after it crashed into an Iranian mountain on Sunday. Apparently, the accident occurred because of bad weather.

Authorities said there was a lot of fog and rain and that hindered the efforts of the rescue crews. They couldn’t access the area via helicopter. The crash occurred in the Mount Dena in central Iran. A spokesman of the airline stated that every single person that was on board was killed. Then, the airline notified via a statement that it could not determine and confirm the deaths because there was no access to the crash site.

iran, iran aseman airlines, aviation accidents and incidents
Families of the 65 victims mourn. Image credit: Toronto Star

The plane was ‘grounded’ for seven years before the crash

The aircraft took off from Tehran – the Iranian capital city – before 8 a.m. local time earlier this Sunday, headed towards the town of Yasuj about 450 miles south of Tehran. However, it disappeared from the radars short after. Its altitude decreased near the city of Semiron due to the extreme weather conditions. The causes of the crash are still under investigation.

The twin-engine turboprop commercial plane, an ATR-72, was used for short-distance flights. It was brought back into service just a few months ago after seven years of no activity. It was built in 1993. Iran had difficulties buying airplane parts, needed to maintain the planes, partially because of the sanctions the country has for its nuclear program.

Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai said on state television that there were 59 passengers aboard of the Flight No. EP3704. As well there were six crew members on the plane.

“After searching the area, we learned that unfortunately … our dear passengers had lost their lives,” Tabatabai informed.

Mount Dena, is about 14,435 feet tall. The last signal of the plane was at 12:35 a.m. EST when it was at 16,975 feet and descending.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani offered condolences to the family of the victims.

Aseman Airlines is owned by Iran’s civil service pension foundation which is a public-private air carried headquartered in Tehran. It flies both nationally and internationally. It is the third largest airline in the country by fleet size – 29 aircraft including six ATR aircraft – right after Iran Air and Mahan Air. However, it doesn’t fly to Europe, as it was banned for safety concerns.

iran, iran aseman airlines, aviation accidents and incidents
Aseman Airlines has faced various fatal accidents with their planes. Image credit: VOA news

Another major crash for Aseman Airlines

Back in October, the airlines mentioned the recently crashed plane, saying that though it had been “grounded” for seven years, and that it was being repaired and that it was to be operational.

The airline has suffered other terrible accidents with their planes. In 1994, a twin-propeller Fokker F-28 1000 commuter plane crashed near Natanz. 66 people died. In 2008, an Itek Air Boeing 737, crashed in Kyrgyzstan. 74 people lost their lives.

Souce: Chicago Tribune