BEIRUT, Lebanon – A Russian-made airliner skidded off the runway and caught fire Friday as it made a hard landing at an airport in eastern Iran, leaving at least 16 people dead and 21 injured, Iranian state television and official news agencies reported.
It was the nation’s second deadly plane accident in as many weeks.
The Aria Airlines Flight 1525 from Tehran, Iran, slid off the runway during an emergency landing at Mashhad, state media reported.
Ali Ikhani, the new chief of the Civil Aviation Organization, told state television the plane struck a wall after it skidded off the runway.
“The impact of the landing pushed the plane off the runway,” one survivor, who was identified only as Jaffari, told the semi-official Fars news agency.
News agencies reported that at least 13 passengers and three crew members were killed and that 21 people were injured.
Officials said the jet was a Russian-made Ilyushin 62M.
On July 15, Iran’s Caspian Airways Flight 7908, a Russian-made Tupolev, crashed 16 minutes after taking off from Tehran en route to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, killing all 168 passengers and crew.
Both crashes highlight what experts describe as the dilapidated state of Iran’s civil aviation industry, which remains under sanctions that prevent it from buying new Western-made aircraft.