0436 GMT June 24, 2018
Spokesman for Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said that helicopters had spotted the wreckage of the plane on Tuesday morning, which was operated by Iran Aseman Airlines.
A satellite image shows what seems to be debris and bodies at the crash site of the ill-fated Iranian airliner.
The head of the Isfahan Province medical emergency center said that helicopters could not land at the crash site to transfer the bodies due to adverse weather and topographical conditions, Press TV reported.
The captain of the helicopter that spotted the wreckage said the plane had crashed 30 meters below a hilltop.
The fuselage has been broken into pieces and only a part bearing Aseman Airlines logo is visible, he added.
An official of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) had said earlier that 80 search teams were conducting an operation at Mount Dena in the Zagros mountain range after weather conditions improved.
Four IRCS helicopters had flown over the region as part of efforts to find the crash site, he added.
Iran’s Air Force F-14 fighter jets also flew over Dena Mount while army parachutists and commandos along with mount climbers continued the ground search and rescue operations.
Authorities hoped searchers would recover the aircraft’s “black boxes” later Tuesday. That equipment, typically painted in a bright color to allow searchers to easily find it, records cockpit conversations and radio transmissions, as well as other data from a flight.
The Aseman Airlines ATR-72 plane, which was over 24 years old, was flying from the Iranian capital, Tehran, to the southwestern city of Yasuj on Sunday when it disappeared 50 minutes into the flight around the town of Semirom in Isfahan Province.
All on board Flight EP3704 were killed, including 60 passengers and six crew members.
A seven-member delegation from France, including officials from the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR, arrived in Iran on Monday to assist the investigation.
Phone signals transmitted after crash
According to data cited by the Flight Safety Foundation’s aviation-safety.net website, the plane had been restored to service just three months ago after being in storage for six years.
Meanwhile, the Isfahan Province emergency center said that a mobile phone had transmitted signals from a location near Mount Dena where helicopters did not manage to reach the previous day due to bad weather.
Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, also confirmed that the mobile phone of one of the passengers had been on after the crash and was sending signals from an area near the village of Kohangan.
An official at Iran Civil Aviation Organization said that the pilot had not declared an emergency situation and that the plane’s Emergency locator transmitter (ELT) had not transmitted signals after the incident.
Iran has suffered several plane crashes in the past few decades. Tehran blames US sanctions for preventing it from importing new aircraft or spare parts.
A deal with world powers on Iran’s nuclear program has lifted some of those sanctions, opening the way for Iranian airlines to update their fleets but many older planes are still in service, particularly on domestic routes.