The deaths of 65 passengers and crew aboard an Iranian commercial flight that crashed on Sunday are the latest in Iran’s longstanding ordeal over the safety of its airplanes — referred to by some Iranians as “flying coffins.”
The Aseman Airlines plane was headed to the southwestern city of Yasuj from Tehran, when it disappeared about an hour into the flight, and crashed in a mountainous area in Semirom. Authorities located the remains of the wreckage on Tuesday.
While the cause of the crash has not yet been determined — Aseman Airlines has blamed bad weather, and local Iranian media has speculated that the 24-year-old twin-engine turboprop ATR plane experienced technical failure — the accident highlights a disturbing trend in Iran. The country has experienced about 200 accidents involving planes and suffered almost 2,000 lives lost in more than two decades, according to the BBC.
Iranians say the frequent crashes are partly due to restrictions stemming from Western sanctions, which have prohibited American businesses and some European entities from conducting trade with Iran, including the sale of new airplanes or parts — forcing the country to rely on an aging airline fleet, on spare parts purchased on the black market, and on second-rate Russian planes.
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