Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704
EP-ATS, the aircraft involved in the crash, in 2006
|Date||18 February 2018|
|Site||Dena Massif, Zagros Mountains near Semirom, Iran|
|Aircraft type||ATR 72-212|
|Operator||Iran Aseman Airlines|
|IATA flight No.||EP3704|
|ICAO flight No.||IRC3704|
|Call sign||ASEMAN 3704|
|Flight origin||Mehrabad International Airport, Tehran, Iran|
|Destination||Yasuj Airport, Yasuj, Iran|
|Aseman Airlines Flight 3704's flight route|
Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 was a scheduled Iranian domestic passenger flight from Tehran to Yasuj operated by Iran Aseman Airlines. On 18 February 2018, the aircraft serving the flight, an ATR 72-212, crashed into Mount Dena in the Zagros Mountains near Noqol village in Semirom county, Isfahan Province. All 6 crew and 60 passengers aboard were killed.
The aircraft involved was an ATR 72-212 with MSN 391. It was registered EP-ATS and was delivered to Iran Aseman Airlines in 1993. No serious incidents were recorded during the 24 years of the aircraft's service in the airline.
An Iranian source reported that the aircraft had recently resumed operations after being out of service for seven years due to a lack of spare parts and that it had technical problems during a flight some weeks before the crash. It was claimed that an Instagram post from Iran Aseman two months prior to the crash, that announced the aircraft was back in service, had been deleted after it crashed.
At the time of the accident, Iran Aseman had six ATR aircraft in its fleet, of which three were in operation.
The aircraft was operating a domestic scheduled passenger flight from Mehrabad International Airport, Tehran to Yasuj Airport, Yasuj, Iran. It took off from Tehran at about 04:30 UTC and crashed into Dena Mountain about an hour later. All 60 passengers and 6 crew on board were presumed to be killed.[a] According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, the last signal from the aircraft was received just before 05:56 UTC, when it was at an altitude of 16,975 feet (5,174 m) and was descending. The last radio contact air traffic control (ATC) had with the crew was a few minutes earlier at 09:22 local time (05:52 UTC), when ATC cleared the aircraft to descend from flight level (FL) 210—an altitude of approximately 21,000 feet (6,400 m)—to FL170.
Locals reported that they had heard the aircraft hit the mountain but due to foggy conditions, rescue helicopters could not reach the crash site in the Zagros Mountains. Mount Dena, the location of the crash site, is actually a mountain range within the Zagros Mountains; it is 80 kilometres (50 mi) long with several peaks, the highest of which is 4,409 metres (14,465 ft) above sea level. Weather conditions at the crash site, including snow and strong winds, were hampering search and rescue services.
Searchers on board Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force helicopters sighted the wreckage of the aircraft two days after the crash, on 20 February, 30 metres (100 ft) below the peak of the mountains south of Noqol at an elevation of approximately 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).
On 3 March Iranian officials announced they had found the flight recorder.
Aftermath and reactions
On 23 February, the Civil Aviation Organization of Islamic Republic of Iran (CAO.IRI) temporarily suspended the operation of Iran Aseman Airlines' ATR 72 aircraft.
Journalists have speculated that the economic sanctions against Iran which have prevented Iranian airlines from obtaining new planes and spare parts and forced them to operate aging aircraft may have contributed to the cause of the crash.
The preliminary report states that, while the aircraft was flying at an altitude of 15,000 feet, engine power was reduced causing the speed to drop significantly, and causing a descent towards 14,000 feet and causing a stall warning. In the area of the accident the minimum safe altitude was 15,500 feet, the mountains peaked at 14,460 feet and the flight plan called for the aircraft to maintain 17,000 feet.
The authorities agree that the main cause of the crash were icing conditions on the wings of the aircraft. However, there is no consensus among Iranian authorities on who to blame. The investigation committee of the Civil Aviation Organization believes that the pilot was aware of the lack of proper deicing on the aircraft, so he should not have entered the area with potential icing. However, Iranian judicial authorities and the special committee of the Islamic Consultative Assembly believe that the flight should not have been allowed in the first place, and blame the Iran Aseman Airlines for the accident.
Passengers and crew
It was initially reported that 59 passengers and six crew members on board were presumed to have been killed. The Preliminary Accident Investigation Report, issued on 20 March 2018, clarified that there were 60 passengers and six crew members aboard.
- Hradecky, Simon (22 February 2018). "Crash: Iran Aseman AT72 near Semirom on Feb 18th 2018, impacted terrain". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
- "Passenger plane crashes in southern Iran, killing 66 on board". NBC News. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- "Aircraft accident ATR 72–212 EP-ATS Yasuj Airport (YES)". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- "EP-ATS Iran Aseman Airlines ATR 72". planespotters.net. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (18 February 2018). "Iran plane crash in south of country 'kills all 65 onboard'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- Steinmetz, Juergen T (2018-02-18). "Iran Aseman Flight 3704 crashed in Semirom, Isfahan Province Iran - eTurboNews (eTN)". eTurboNews (eTN). Retrieved 2018-02-24.
- "Passenger plane crashes in Iran mountains". BBC News. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- "Crash of Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 – Flightradar24 Blog". blog.flightradar24.com. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- "Plane crashes in southern Iran, killing all 66 people on board". abc.net.au/news. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- Karimi, Nasser (18 February 2018). "Commercial plane crashes in southern Iran, killing 66 people". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- "سخنگوی سپاه: بالگردهای سپاه لاشه هواپیمای تهران ــ یاسوج را پیدا کردند". Tasnim (in Persian). Retrieved 20 February 2018.
- "Black box from Tehran-Yasuj crashed plane retrieved". Mehr News Agency. 3 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- "Iran aviation org. temporarily stops operating ATR 72 planes". 2018-02-23. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- Calder, Simon (2018-02-18). "Iran Aseman Airlines crash: Years of sanctions have left passengers with one of oldest air fleets in the world". The Independent. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
- "Crash: Iran Aseman AT72 near Semirom on Feb 18th 2018, impacted terrain". avherald.com. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- "Yasuj aircraft crash-Pilot's error or wing icing?".
- "Iran passenger plane crashes near Samirom with 66 on board". Mehr News Agency. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- "Preliminary Accident Investigation Report" (PDF) (in Persian). Iran Civil Aviation Organization. 20 March 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- Media related to Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 at Wikimedia Commons
- "Accident to the ATR72 registered EP-ATS and operated by Aseman Airlines on 18/02/2018 near Yasouj [Investigation led by AAIB / Islamic Republic of Iran]" - Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile
- "Accident de l’ATR72 immatriculé EP-ATS et exploité par Aseman Airlines survenu le 18/02/2018 près de Yasouj [Enquête menée par AAIB / République Islamique d'Iran]" - Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (in French)