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Iranian military plane crashes; 119 dead
Updated: 2005-12-06 19:37

An Iranian military transport plane crashed into a 10-story apartment building in the suburbs of the capital Tuesday, killing at least 119 people, according to state media and Tehran's mayor. All 94 passengers and crew of the plane were killed, Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf told The Associated Press.

Iranian military plane crashes; 119 dead
All passengers and crew on board an Iranian plane that crashed on Tuesday were killed when it hit a 10-storey building in Tehran, a police spokesman told state radio. [Reuters]

Tehran state radio said that of the building's residents, 25 people were killed and 15 were injured.

Firefighters managed to put out the fire in the building, which was damaged and charred but still standing. The plane's wreckage was scattered around the building, which police cordoned off.

"It was like an earthquake," said Reza Sadeqi, a 25-year-old merchant, who saw the plane hit the building. "The force of the crash threw me about 3 meters (9 feet) inside my shop.

"I felt the heat of the fire caused by the crash. It was like being in hell," he said.

The C-130 aircraft struck the building while trying to return to Tehran's Mehrabad airport, state television reported. The building is in the Towhid residential complex, a series of high-rise apartment buildings for army personnel.

Thousands of people gathered at the crash site. Many screamed for fear that their relatives had been killed.

The plane, which belonged to the army air force, carried 84 passengers and 10 crew members, Iranian television reported. The official Islamic Republic News Agency said the passengers were journalists who were going to cover a military maneuver in southern Iran.

The flight had taken off from Mehrabad airport en route to Bandar Abbas, a port city in southern Iran. The plane crashed due to a technical failure as it was trying to return to Tehran and make an emergency landing, the television said.

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