(AFP) – Jan 2, 2008
TEHRAN (AFP) — An Iran Air plane carrying 100 passengers skidded off the runway after part of its wing caught fire on take-off from a Tehran airport on Wednesday, an airport official said.
No-one was injured in the accident, which happened around 0400 GMT amid heavy snowfall at Tehran's Mehrabad airport, the airport's air traffic control chief said.
"A (Dutch-made) Fokker 100 Iran Air plane which was going from Tehran to Shiraz (south) skidded off the runway," said the official, identified only as Rasoulinejad.
"Its wheels were disconnected and part of its wing caught fire," he was quoted as saying on Iran's state television website.
Rasoulinejad added that all 100 passengers were safe and awaiting another plane to take them to Shiraz. However, the Fars news agency said some passengers suffered superficial injuries and respiration problems.
Iran's civil aviation organisation has launched an inquiry, local media reported.
Iran's civilian aviation industry and air force was massively hit by the US trade embargo imposed after the 1979 Islamic revolution, as most of their aircraft were of US origin.
The action taken by Washington means Tehran has to work hard to find spare parts for its ageing fleet. It also means Iran cannot buy new Boeing planes or even European Airbuses which include a significant number of US parts.
Iran has suffered a number of aviation disasters over the past decade. Dozens of people were killed in September 2006 when an airliner came off the runway after landing in the eastern city of Mashhad and burst into flames.
Mehrabad airport, situated in western Tehran, is used mainly for domestic flights after all international flights switched earlier this year to Imam Khomeini Airport on the outskirts of the capital.
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