Iranian Airliner Crashes, Killing at Least 77

 - January 10, 2011, 5:54 AM

An IranAir Boeing 727 crashed last night in the suburbs of the city of Orumiyeh in northwestern Iran, killing at least 77 people and injuring 27, according to the Iranian Fars News Agency (FNA).

Initial reports blamed the crash on a “technical flaw”; however, the FNA reported that weather forced the airplane, en route from Tehran to Orumiyeh, to perform a go-around. The airplane reportedly disappeared from radar screens as it circled for a second approach at around 19:45 local time.

Although images from Iranian television showed that the 727 broke into several pieces, it appeared not to have exploded. Heavy snow in the area hampered rescue efforts, according to the FNA.

Iranian officials blame international sanctions for preventing its airlines from acquiring new Boeing and Airbus aircraft or spare parts for the vintage models they obtained before Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.