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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 10:26 GMT
Thousands mourn Iran crash dead
Iranians carry coffins of journalists, photographers and army members
Mourners filled a main road in central Tehran

Thousands of mourners have gathered in the Iranian capital, Tehran, for the funerals of victims of a plane crash on Tuesday in which 110 people died.

The Iranian army C-130 came down in a residential district of south-west Tehran and ploughed into a 10-storey apartment block, setting it on fire.

Iran's media have criticised the military for the lack of adequate safety checks.

The dead included 68 journalists who were going to watch military exercises.

We used to see them on TV every day. We shall miss them very much
Mourner in Tehran
Military officials have strongly denied any suggestion of negligence.

The huge procession packed a main road in central Tehran, with many ordinary pepole joining relatives of the dead and members of the armed forces.

"We used to see them on TV every day," said one mourner. "We shall miss them very much."

A large group of officials also attended, including Parliamentary Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel.


Addressing the procession, Mr Haddad Adel said the Majlis would do its best to discover the causes of the crash.

"If it was due to any negligence or shortcoming, it should not happen again," he said.

"Officials should pay utmost attention to safety requirements."

The BBC's correspondent in Tehran, Frances Harrison, says it has been a highly emotional day - more so because of allegations that more could have been done to ensure the safety of those on the 30-year old plane.

Technical problems

Reports say the plane had experienced technical problems all morning, causing the take-off to be delayed for hours.

The conservative Hamshahri newspaper also claims that the plane had requested an emergency landing twice and had been denied permission by the control tower at Mehrabad airport.

An Iranian whose father was killed in a plane crash, mourns during the funeral ceremony in Tehran
Many bereaved relatives broke down in tears
A local newspaper has threatened to publish a transcript of the exchanges between the pilot and the control tower if there are any attempts at a cover-up, our correspondent says.

On Wednesday, Tehran Prosecutor Said Mortazavi said that a court nearby the airport would investigate the crash and that it would identify anyone found to have been negligent.

But the investigation will not be aided by a black box - the data collection devices usually mounted in the tail of an aircraft.

The deputy commander of the Iranian army, Brig Gen Mohammad Hasan Nami, said Iranian military aircraft are not equipped with such devices.



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