Hits 10-Story Building, All Aboard Dead
ANN REAL TIME UPDATE
12.06.05 1300 EST: The death toll is now at least 128 in
this morning's crash of an Iranian military C-130 into a Tehran
residential high-rise. All 84 passengers and 10 crewmembers onboard
the military aircraft were killed, in addition to at least 34 on
the ground... although that number may climb higher still as
workers struggle to reach people trapped in the wreckage of the
The plane was carrying reporters to cover a military
exercise in southern Iran, Iran Broadcasting said on its Web site.
The pilot was reportedly attempting to return to Mehrabad
International Airport due to an unspecified problem with one of the
aircraft's four turboprop engines.
Witness Iraj Mordin told the Associated Press the plane
appeared to be circling the airport when its tail suddenly burst
into flames, leaving a smoke trail as it rapidly descended. The
C-130s engines are wing-mounted.
This was the fourth C-130 to go down in Iran since 1986,
including a 2003 accident that killed four.
An aging C-130 belonging to the Iranian military (file photo of
type, below) went down Tuesday morning shortly after takeoff,
impacting a 10-story building in Tehran's Yaftabad district. All 94
onboard the aircraft are dead, as are at least 25 people in the
building, according to state radio reports.
State television is reporting the C-130 -- one of 15 believed to
still be in service in Iran, purchased before the 1979 Islamic
Revolution and subsequent US boycott of the country -- experienced
a technical problem shortly after takeoff from Mehrabad
A thick cloud of smog is over the city due to high pollution
levels, but it is unknown if this played a role in the accident,
according to the BBC.
A nearby shopkeeper described how he noticed something appeared
to be wrong with the plane before it crashed.
"We are used to aeroplanes but I thought: 'Oh my God, this one
is going to crash'. Then it struck the building with a big bang and
smoke came pouring out."
According to the BBC, Tuesday's crash was the fourth
involving an Iranian plane since 2002. The last involving an
Iranian military aircraft occurred in 2003, when an Russian-built
Il-76 troop carrier went down in southeastern Iran. That accident
claimed the lives of all 276 soldiers and crew onboard.