Iranian Airliner Crashes, 168 Presumed Dead

 - July 15, 2009, 7:27 AM

A Tupolev Tu-154 operated by Iran’s Caspian Airlines crashed today near the city of Qazvin in northwestern Iran, killing all 168 people on board, according to country’s official state news service. The Russian-built airliner, one of five Tu-154Ms operated by the airline, crashed just before noon local time, 16 minutes after taking off from its base at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport on a flight to the Armenian capital Yerevan. Established in 1992, Caspian Airlines became a member of IATA in 2005. It operates more than 50 domestic flights per week and international service to Hungary, the UAE, Syria, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus and Turkey.