Plane catches fire at Tehran airport; 100 passengers evacuated unhurt

An airliner caught fire on landing at Tehran's Mehrabad airport on Tuesday but all 100 passengers were evacuated without injury, the head of Iran's emergency department said on state television. (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Shahram Sharifi)
Updated 20 March 2019

Plane catches fire at Tehran airport; 100 passengers evacuated unhurt

  • Plane landed on its body after wheels failed to open — Fars news site
  • Iran Air Fokker was flying from Gulf island

GENEVA, Switzerland: An airliner caught fire on landing at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on Tuesday but all 100 passengers were evacuated without injury, the head of Iran’s emergency department said on state television.
A video posted by the Islamic Republic News Agency showed flames and sparks shooting out from the back of the plane at the moment of landing.
The fire broke out after the aircraft’s landing gear did not open properly, and was later brought under control, emergency department head Pir-Hossein Kolivand said.
The pilot was unable to open the back wheels of the plane and circled the airport attempting to open all the wheels before landing the plane on its body, according to Fars news agency.
The plane was a Fokker 100 belonging to Iran Air, Fars reported. Other agency reports said it was flying from an Iranian island in the Gulf to the capital.
IRIB news agency quoted Reza Jafarzadeh, the head of public relations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization as saying the plane had 24 passengers and nine crew. It did not give any explanation for the discrepancy in the figures.
Iran has suffered a string of plane and helicopter crashes over the past few decades. Tehran says US sanctions have long prevented it from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the West to modernize its fleet.


Explosion hits Hezbollah building in southern Lebanon

Updated 14 min 46 sec ago

Explosion hits Hezbollah building in southern Lebanon

CAIRO: A huge explosion was heard in southern Lebanon in the village of Ain Qana, according to Lebanese broadcasters and witnesses.

The explosion occurred in an arms depot for Hezbollah in the village, one Lebanese security official in south Lebanon said, without elaborating on the cause. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
An official with the militant group Hezbollah confirmed there was an explosion but declined to give further details, according to the Associated Press. Another local Hezbollah official could not confirm any casualties and said the nature of the blast was not yet clear. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give official statements.

Members of the group imposed a security cordon around the area. Security sources said earlier there were injuries in the blast. 

Pictures from Lebanese news media showed clouds of dark smoke rose from the area. The cause of the blast about 50 km (30 miles) south of Beirut was not immediately clear.

Twitter account Intel Sky shared footage of what the explosion purportedly looks like.

The mysterious explosion comes seven weeks after the massive explosion at Beirut port, caused by the detonation of nearly 3,000 tons of improperly stored ammonium nitrate. The explosion killed nearly 200 people, injured 6,500 and damaged tens of thousands of buildings in the capital, Beirut.
It is still not clear what caused the initial fire that ignited the chemicals, and so far no one has been held accountable.

(with Reuters and AP)