What Led to the Crash of the Iranian Airplane?

By INU Staff

INU - Aseman Airlines passenger Flight EP3704 crashed into Dena Mountain near the city of Semirom in Isfahan Province on Sunday morning, February 18th. Everyone on board was killed — 66 passengers and crew. The plane was en route from Tehran to the south-western city of Yasuj.

While there is much speculation about the cause of the crash, officials have dismissed the theory of technical problems as a “rumor.” Still, according to the Iranian newspa-per Shargh, technical problems were reported on the same plane on January 25th.

Officials of Aseman Airlines say that the Iran Civil Aviation Organization would not have permitted the plane to fly if it had technical problems. They say that the more likely causes were atmospheric conditions and the location of Yasuj’s airport.

Some Iranian officials have pointed to the plane’s advanced age. Ali Abedzadeh, the head of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization, said the plane had been manufactured in 1993, but an Air France flight engineer said in an interview that the age of the plane would not have been a factor in the crash. “We still have Airbuses that are more than 30 years old, but still fly without any problem,” he said. “We even have planes that are almost half a century old but nothing has ever happened to them. What makes a plane safe for its passengers are inspections and on-time replacement of its compo-nents.”

As well, “Before any plane takes off from the runway,” said the flight engineer, “it is inspected by flight mechanics. They give the pilot a list, confirming that all compo-nents and instruments are working properly and then the pilot shares the lists with flight engineers. Both the pilot and flight engineers must confirm that the plane is safe for flight before it can take off. In the flight cabin the pilot has a gauge that tells him the altitude. If the instruments are working properly it is impossible for the pilot to be unaware of the altitude.”

He said further, that the instruments are effective no matter how bad atmospheric conditions are. “A plane simply does not crash into a mountain. Even in the midst of clouds and fog, the instruments do what they are supposed to do. The distance be-tween the plane and the mountain or the sea is quite clear. Pilots fly by instruments. Saying ‘the pilot did not see the mountain’ is wrong. It is highly likely that the plane’s instruments had technical difficulties and it is quite possible that the pilot did not no-tice the problem.”

"According to Skytrax, a trusted UK-based consultancy that ranks airlines and air-ports around the world, Iran Air has one of the world’s worst safety records,” writes Aida Ghajar in an article for Track Persia.

Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development reported in 2016 that, between 1979 and 2014, Tehran was at the top of list for air accidents, with a total of 1,985 fatalities.

According to the Iranian Aviation News Agency, following the 1979 revolution, there have been a number of airplane crashes resulting in fatalities in Iran every year.

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