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IRAN: Three aviation incidents in 24 hours highlight hazards of flying

August 27, 2010 |  8:55 am


As many as 600 people aboard three different planes owned by Iranian airline companies were endangered when two of the aircraft made emergency landings after the engines caught fire and another ran off the runway, all within a 24-hour period.

Iran's aviation industry has a history of fatal technical failures, with 14 fatal civilian and military aviation accidents since 2000, seven of which have taken place during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency, according to a previous report by the Los Angeles Times.

On Thursday morning, an Airbus A-300 operated by Iran's privately owned Mahan Airlines flying from Tehran to Dusseldorf, Germany, with 227 people aboard made an emergency landing in Istanbul after pilots saw fire in one of the engines.

An hour later, an Iran Air Airbus A-300 flight with 236 people aboard heading to Stockholm suffered similar problems and landed in Istanbul, Turkey, according to the Aviation Herald.

Then on Thursday night, an Aseman Airlines plan blew a tire and ran off the Tabriz runway, Iranian news agencies reported. The Fokker 100 "skidded off the runway due to harsh rainfall late Thursday upon landing in Tabriz International Airport," said the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

The news agency cited an unnamed source as saying the plane lost control just after landing and plunged into a nearby canal later. Two were slightly injured.

The plane was arriving from Tehran.

No one was seriously hurt in any of the three incidents, which served as an unsettling reminder of the toll that sanctions and internal corruption has taken on air safety in Iran.

Iran says Western sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program have prevented it from buying new aircraft and better parts. But industry insiders have told the Times that mismanagement, nepotism and corruption have allowed airlines to skirt proper maintenance and inspection.

Last July, Iran saw two deadly crashes in as many weeks, and earlier this year a Russian-made passenger plan caught fire during landing.

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: An Aseman Airlines plane ran off the runway in Tabriz after popping a tire. Credit: ISNA