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Iranian plane catches fire on landing

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Emergency services at the scene of plane's wreckage

A plane carrying pilgrims in Iran has caught fire while landing at Mashhad, in the north-east of the country.

State media said almost 170 people were on board and that at least 46 were injured. There were no reports of fatalities.

The plane, a Russian-built Tupolev 154 owned by Taban Air, suffered serious damage as it landed, losing its undercarriage and a wing.

The rear end of the plane broke up after the passengers were evacuated.

Reza Jafarzadeh, spokesman for Iranian civil aviation, said the plane had left the city of Abadan, in south-west Iran, on Saturday, but bad weather had forced it to land in the central city of Isfahan for the night, according to state television.

After taking off again on Sunday, the captain was forced to make an emergency landing in Mashhad because of a passenger's health problems, he said.

Iranian firefighters work on plane which crash landed at Mashhad airport 24 Jan 2010.
The plane caught fire as it crash landed at Mashhad airport

As it landed in fog at Mashhad airport, the tail of the plane hit the ground and the plane skidded off the runway.

Iranian news networks released pictures of the tail of the plane burning, with smoke billowing from the end of the plane.

There have been a number of accidents involving Iranian aviation over the last few years.

Its civil fleet is made up of old planes in poor condition due to their age and lack of maintenance.

Last July a passenger plane burst into flames while landing in Mashhad, killing 17 passengers.

10 days earlier, a Tupolev plane had caught fire mid-air and crashed in northern Iran, killing all 168 people on board.

That incident was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev 154 in Iran since 2002.



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