TEHRAN – Iranian search operations for the wreckage of a commercial airliner entered a second day on Monday, while conflicting governmental accounts made it unclear if attempts to locate the crash site in the mountainous central province of Isfahan had been successful, according to state-run news agency IRNA.
The deputy governor of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, Yafar Gohargani, told the official IRNA agency that the wreckage of the plane had been located, but this claim was shortly refuted by the Civil Aviation Organization’s director general of air operations, Mohamad Said Sharafi, who said that drones were still searching the area without results.
The hunt for the Aseman Airlines aircraft using helicopters and mountaineering teams had previously been hampered by bad weather.
Fog and wind recorded in the region on Sunday likely caused the crash, which left no survivors and killed at least 65 people.
Iranian state media cited a statement from Aseman Airlines released Sunday that all 60 passengers, including a child, as well as the two pilots, two copilots and two security personnel had died.
However, multiple media outlets reported that one passenger allegedly missed the flight, lowering the death toll to 65.
Early Monday, IRNA cited provincial emergency chief Jalal Pouranfard as saying that there was still no sign of the wreckage.
The plane, an ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop that had been in operation for over two decades, disappeared from radar 20 minutes after taking off from Tehran heading toward the southeastern city of Yassouj.
Iran has an outdated commercial air fleet due to years of international sanctions imposed on the country, with several serious accidents in the previous decade.
The most recent plane crash killed 40 people in August 2014 in Tehran; three years earlier, 78 people were killed when their plane was brought down during a storm in northern Iran.