Tehran, Dec 8, IRNA-Iran's Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hossein Saffar-Harandi said in Tehran on Thursday the government has called for a probe into the crash Tuesday afternoon of a military plane which claimed 108 lives.
A military C-130 plane carrying 97 passengers including crew took off from Mehrabad International Airport at 2:10 p.m. (10:40 GMT) on Tuesday and minutes later smashed into a 10-storey building in a residential area in southern Tehran killing all its passengers and crew. Eleven people on the ground were also killed raising the total number of casualties to 108.
IRNA's news reporter, who was among the casualties and who called IRNA before the tragic flight, said the plane was having technical problems and which delayed its take-off.
It allegedly radioed for permission to make an emergency landing but failed and tragically crashed into a 10-storey residential building in Towhid township, near Mehrabad International Airport.
Sixty-eight of the plane's passengers were media people. IRNA reporter Sepahdar Sajedi, who called IRNA before the tragic crash, and IRNA photographer Seyed Mehdi Mirafzali were among the unfortunate victims of this tragedy.
"As far as I know, this was the result of a totally fast development," the minister said in his address to a funeral procession held here this morning for martyrs of the crash.
"However, to assure grieving family members and the public that such incidents, probably involving negligence, would never again occur in the future, we will all follow up the case to find out the cause."
Safar-Harandi expressed his sympathy and condolences to members of the media, bereaved families of victims and the Iranian nation on the tragic incident.
Thousands of people, including a large group of officials, members of the armed forces and those of bereaved families joined the funeral procession.
Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel and First Vice-President Parviz Dawoudi were also in the procession.
Amid calls by various state officials for a probe into the cause of the crash, the Public Relations Department of the Judiciary said on Wednesday a special judge had been appointed to investigate the incident.
The chairman of the Defense Committee of Majlis' National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Reza Talaie-Nik, told IRNA that his committee was also considering a probe into the plane crash on its agenda.
Talaie-Nik said the committee will consider in its investigation all factors that may have led to the tragic event, including human error or technical problems or other causes such as defective control tower management.
He said a meeting will be held by the committee on Sunday during which officials from the ministries of defense and roads and transportation as well as the army will be invited to attend.
The Majlis Defense Committee will then inform the public of the result, he added.
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