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All passengers feared dead as Iranian plane crash

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Iranian authorities on Sunday night suspended the search for a missing airliner with 66 people during a snowstorm over mountains in southwestern Iran.

State television announced shortly after 21H00 local (17H30 GMT) that the research of the ATR 72 of the Iranian company Aseman Airlines, about 500 km south of the Iranian capital, resume Monday at dawn if the conditions weather permitting.

The combination of night, snow, rain and strong winds makes operations impossible at this stage, she said.

Aseman Airlines flight EP3704, which served as the Tehran-Yasouj flight, took off from Mehrabad airport at 08:00 local time (0430 GMT) with 60 passengers, including one child, and six crew members.

He disappeared from the radar about 45 minutes later as he flew over the Zagros Mountains and approached his destination.

The Iranian Civil Aviation Organization believes that the plane crashed but the point of impact of the aircraft has still not been located and the exact causes of the crash were unknown.

The 66 people on board are presumed dead, although, given the difficulty in locating the aircraft or what remains of it, Aseman Airlines said it was unable to “confirm the death of all passengers”.

Supreme Iranian leader Ali Khamenei sent a message of condolence to the families of those on board the plane.

France, the European Union and Russia also sent messages of condolence.

The Bureau (French) of studies and analyzes for the safety of civil aviation (BEA) announced in the evening its participation “in the investigation of security led by the AAIB” (Air Accident Investigation Branch). “Three investigators and our technical advisers are going there,” a spokesman told AFP.

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