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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 February, 2004, 16:01 GMT
Iranian plane crashes in Emirates
A piece of wreckage is lifted by crane
The charred wreckage of the plane is being hauled away
An Iranian plane has crashed near Sharjah airport in the United Arab Emirates, killing at least 43 people.

The Kish Airlines flight was coming in to land after flying from the Iranian Gulf island of Kish at about 1100 local time (0700 GMT).

Reports say it went into a nosedive after asking for an emergency landing. Flight recorders have been retrieved.

Three survivors are seriously wounded in hospital. Other people who survived the initial crash later died.

Television footage from the scene of the crash showed several dead bodies, and flames and black smoke pouring from the wreckage of the front of the plane.
From the impact of the crash the plane overturned, split into two and then burst into flames

Shocked relatives, some of them crying, watched TV images of the crash at Sharjah airport.

About 12 of the passengers and all the crew were Iranian. There were also about 12 Indians and four Egyptians on board.

Police have been clearing the scene, as investigators try to establish what happened.


One eyewitness told the agency the plane had gone into a nosedive.

12 Iranian
12 Indians
4 Egyptians
2 Algerians
2 Filipinos
1 Nepali
1 Syrian
1 Nigerian
1 Bangladeshi
1 Sudanese
1 Cameroonian
Civil Aviation Authority
"From the impact of the crash it overturned, split into two and then burst into flames," the eyewitness said.

Iranian media said the plane had asked for an emergency landing as it flew in, but then veered to the left and crashed.

An Iranian team is to be sent to the site to help the investigation.

The BBC's Crispin Thorold, at the scene of the crash, says he saw lumps of equipment and some bits and pieces belonging to passengers strewn around, as well as broken pieces of fuselage.

The rear third of the aircraft was left intact but the rest was almost completely destroyed, he says.

Several people were seen being taken away alive, but some later died in hospital, reported the Emirates official news agency, WAM.

Of the three remaining survivors, two are reportedly in critical condition.

The plane crashed about 3km (2 miles) from the airport, close to a road in a residential area.

Low-cost route

It was a twin turboprop Dutch-built short-range Fokker-50, designed to carry up to 60 people.

Feb 03: Military transport aircraft crashes in southern Iran, killing all 302 people on board.
Dec 02: An-140 commuter plane carrying aerospace experts crashes in central Iran, killing all 46 people on board
Feb 02: Tu-154 operated by Iran Air crashes in mountains in the west of Iran, killing all 117 on board
March 97: 80 die when a military plane crashes in north-east Iran
Feb 93: Tu-154 crashes into a military plane near Tehran, killing 132
It was thought that 46 people were on board, including six crew.

The island of Kish is a holiday destination but also used as a transit point for guest workers in the Gulf for so-called visa runs, by which they leave the country in which they are working and return with a new visa.

Many poorer workers from Asia use this short, low-cost route rather than travelling to other Gulf states.

Iran has a history of air accidents, which Tehran blames on two decades of sanctions by the West which have left the country with a fleet of mainly ageing aircraft.

Its worst air disaster came in February last year when 302 people including 284 members of the elite Republican Guard died in a military transport plane crash near the Afghan border.

Kish airlines was the first private Iranian airline registered in Iran, and has special status in the country's tourist industry.

The BBC's Jim Fish
"No distress call had been heard from the pilot"

No survivors in Iran plane crash
20 Feb 03  |  Middle East
Iran plane crash victims found
24 Dec 02  |  Middle East
Iran plagued by poor aircraft safety
20 Feb 03  |  Middle East
Country profile: United Arab Emirates
23 Dec 03  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Iran
15 Jan 04  |  Country profiles
Air disaster timeline
13 Jan 04  |  In Depth

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