Plane flying from UAE to Turkey crashes in Iran, killing 11
A Turkish private jet flying a group of young women from the United Arab Emirates to Istanbul crashed Sunday in heavy rain in a mountainous region of Iran, killing all 11 people on board, authorities said.
Days earlier, the doomed aircraft carried a bachelorette party bound for Dubai, although it was not clear who was on the plane when it went down.
Iranian state television quoted a spokesman for the country's emergency management organization as saying the plane hit a mountain near Shahr-e Kord and burst into flames. Shahr-e Kord is some 370 kilometers (230 miles) south of the capital, Tehran.
The spokesman, Mojtaba Khaledi, later told a website associated with state TV that local villagers had reached the site in the Zagros Mountains and found only badly burned bodies and no survivors. He said DNA tests would be needed to identify the dead.
Villagers said they saw flames coming from the plane's engine before the crash, according to a report by Iran's state-run judiciary news agency Mizan.
The plane took off late Sunday afternoon and climbed to a cruising altitude of just over 35,000 feet. A little over an hour later, it rapidly gained altitude and then dropped drastically within minutes, according to FlightRadar24, a flight-tracking website.
The flight took off from Sharjah International Airport, according to the General Civil Aviation Authority in the UAE. A private company that handles public relations for the Sharjah airfield, the home of low-cost airline Air Arabia, declined to comment. Sharjah is a neighboring emirate of Dubai.
Turkey's private Dogan News Agency identified the plane as a Bombardier CL604, tail number TC-TRB. Turkey's Transport Ministry said the aircraft belonged to a company named Basaran Holding, which The Associated Press could not immediately reach.
Basaran Investment Holding is active in the food, finance, energy, construction, tourism and travel industries, according to the company's website.
Mina Basaran, the 28-year-old daughter of Basaran's chairman who is part of the company's board of managers and is in line to run the business, recently posted photographs on Instagram of what appeared to be her bachelorette party in Dubai.
Among those photographs was an image of the plane posted three days ago. In it, Basaran posed on the tarmac carrying flowers, wearing a denim jacket reading "Mrs. Bride" and the hashtag "#bettertogether." In another picture, she holds heart-shaped balloons inside the plane.
A day ago, Basaran posted a picture with seven smiling friends from a Dubai resort. The last videos posted to her account showed her enjoying a concert by the British pop star Rita Ora at a popular Dubai nightclub. There was no further activity on her account after that.
Iranian emergency management officials said all the passengers were young women, according to state television IRNA.
Sunday's crash comes less than a month after an Iranian ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short regional flights, crashed in southern Iran, killing all 65 people aboard.
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press Writer Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed to this report.