Tehran recovers black box from Turkish plane crash killing 11

Rescue workers carry the body of a passenger of a Turkish private jet that crashed in the Zagros Mountains outside of the city of Shahr-e Kord, Iran, on Monday. (AP)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Tehran recovers black box from Turkish plane crash killing 11

TEHRAN: Investigators on Monday found the “black box” from a Turkish private jet that crashed in an Iranian mountain range on its way from the UAE to Istanbul, killing all 11 people on board that included a Turkish bride-to-be and her bachelorette party.
Authorities recovered all the dead from the crash site in the Zagros Mountains outside of the city of Shahr-e Kord, some 370 km south of Iran’s capital, Tehran, according to a report by the state-run IRNA news agency.
Officials have so far identified eight bodies, including that of Mina Basaran, the 28-year-old daughter of the chairman of Turkey’s Basaran Investment Holding, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported Monday.
Heavy rains and wind in the mountain range since the crash Sunday made it impossible for helicopters to land in the area, though officials hoped to bring the bodies down from the mountain later in the day, IRNA said.
Families of the victims arrived Monday in Shahr-e Kord, accompanied by Turkish diplomats, IRNA reported.
The flight took off Sunday from Sharjah International Airport in the UAE, home to the low-cost carrier Air Arabia. A little over an hour into the flight, the aircraft rapidly gained altitude and then dropped drastically within minutes, according to FlightRadar24, a flight-tracking website.
It remains unclear what caused the crash, though a witness told state television the Bombardier CL604 was on fire before it hit the mountain.
Finding the aircraft’s “black box” will help investigators trying to piece together what happened. That equipment, typically painted in a bright color to allow searchers to easily find it, records cockpit conversations and radio transmissions, as well as other data from a flight.
Sharjah civil aviation authorities said in a statement late Sunday night that the plane’s eight passengers were six Turks and two Spaniards. Three others were the flight crew.
“The plane did not apply for maintenance procedures while on the ground of the airport,” their statement said.
Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper and other media reports said the plane’s three crew members — two pilots and one flight attendant — were all women as well.


Netanyahu to cut US trip short after rocket attack near Tel Aviv

Updated 49 min 25 sec ago
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Netanyahu to cut US trip short after rocket attack near Tel Aviv

  • Netanyahu said the incident will evoke a strong Israeli reaction
  • Palestinian rockets rarely reach an area at that distance from Gaza

MISHMERET/JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he is to cut short his trip to the United States after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv.

“In light of the security events I decided to cut short my visit to the US,” Netanyahu said, calling the attack a heinous crime that would draw a strong Israeli response.

He said he would meet with President Donald Trump in the coming hours and then fly back immediately.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in a community north of Tel Aviv and caused it to catch fire, wounding seven Israelis, authorities and medics said.

Israel’s army said the rocket was fired from the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas, raising the risk of another escalation between the two sides just ahead of April 9 Israeli elections.

The house hit was located in the community of Mishmeret, police said. Medics said they were treating one Israeli with moderate wounds and four others injured lightly.

Mishmeret is more than 80 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave at that distance is rare.

Monday’s incident comes after two rockets were fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv — also rare — on March 14.

No damage or injuries were caused, but Israel responded to that and further rocket fire by hitting what it said were around 100 Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip.

Four Palestinians were reported wounded in those strikes.

Both Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad denied they were behind the March 14 rocket fire toward Tel Aviv, raising the possibility they were launched by fringe groups.

Israel’s military said they were launched by Hamas, but later there were Israeli media reports that the army’s preliminary assessment was that they had been fired by mistake during maintenance work.

The reports were a sign that Israel was seeking to calm tensions. The military had refused to comment on the reports at the time.

Monday’s rocket comes just days ahead of the March 30 one-year anniversary of Palestinian protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.

An informal truce between Hamas and Israel had led to relative calm along the border of the blockaded strip, but recent weeks have seen another uptick in violence.