Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Aviation official blames excessive load for Iran-140 crash

The Crash Investigation Committee releases a report about the probable cause of Iran-140 accident in August.

A senior Iranian aviation official said excessive load and a malfunctioning of the propeller caused the crash of Iran-140 (Antonov-140) passenger plane in Tehran in early August, while the head of Iran’s Civilian Aviation Organization blamed an engine failure for the accident.

On August 10, an Iranian airliner crashed in the vicinity of Tehran’s International Mehrabad Airport just outside the capital, leaving at least 39 dead.

“The plane should be loaded with standard load at the time of take-off and this weight should be reduced as the temperature goes up while investigations show that the plane was carrying an excessive load of cargo before taking off,” Head of Antonov-140 Crash Investigation Committee Mohammad Shahbazi told reporters on Sunday.

He reiterated that several other parameters such as technical faults and high temperature caused the plane to crash, and said, “The starboard engine of the plane which caused the crash has been taken to the laboratory (for further examination) and its parts have also been dismantled in front of the experts of the manufacturing company (Antonov).”

Shahbazi said that the airport’s altitude and high temperature also influenced the plane to crash.

Earlier today, Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Alireza Jahangirian announced that the data and information retrieved from the black-boxes of the Iran-140 revealed that the malfunctioning of the plane’s starboard engine has caused the incident.

“The initial information indicated that the pilot tried to keep the plane straight, but the aircraft fell down from a 45-meter height after he failed,” Jahangirian told reporters.

He noted that right after the plane crash a committee was set up to investigate the crash and 11 sub-committee groups also began probing the accident.

“Investigations by the committee show that the pilot tried hard to increase the altitude of the plane in order to prevent the crash, but the low speed and also because the plane was not in a straight position caused the plane to crash.

Earlier this month, Jahangirian said that the members of the committee had studied the results of eyewitness accounts and the (navigation) systems review of the Iran-140 plane and they had also studied the data of the FDR and CVR devices.

He noted that Iranian and foreign experts have obtained all the vital information of the Iranian passenger plane intact despite the heavy damage the plane sustained and the black box in the crash.

Yet, Jahangirian did not mention the details of the findings by the investigation committee then.

Jahangirian, who is also a deputy roads minister, said the parts and equipment of the plane were due to be sent to laboratories in Iran and abroad to go under metal fatigue and molecular tests.

He said the committee would have another session to study the findings and reports of other sub-committee groups as well.

The Iran-140 Sepahan Airliner had just taken off from Mehrabad Airport when it crashed on the outskirts of the capital at 09:20 (0450 GMT) on August 10.

The passenger plane, carrying 48 passengers and crew members, was bound for Tabas in Eastern Iran when it crashed in Azadi township just 5km to the West of Tehran.

Eye witness accounts said the pilot lost control at the end of the runway and crashed the plane into the ground although he managed to take off and fly for seconds.

Three of the victims died on the way to the hospital aboard a rescue helicopter. Nine of the passengers survived the incident, but were badly wounded.

Managing-Director of Iran’s Airport Company Mohammad Ilkhani said the plane was carrying 40 passengers and 8 crew (including the pilot, co-pilot, two flight technicians, two hostesses, and two flight security guards). Ilkhani confirmed that the pilot was about to take off at the end of the runway when he lost his starboard engine and crashed the plane a few seconds after take-off.

Ilkhani later informed FNA that the pilot had informed the control tower of an engine malfunction as he was taking off, but communication had been lost as the plane crashed.

The plane didn’t crash in residential areas of Azadi township instead it hit an open area in a military zone belonging to the Iranian Defense Industries 6km (4 miles) to the East of the airport and close to Tehran’s Azadi Sports Complex.

The fuselage had smashed into pieces during the incident with the tail landing into a street and the cockpit and front seats smashing into the concrete wall of a glass manufacturing factory.

Deputy Roads Minister Ahmad Majidi later said the Aviation Organization of Iran had sent a team to the crash scene immediately to study the possible cause of the incident, adding that the team found the black box.

On August 10, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the grounding of all Iran-140 passenger planes until a comprehensive investigation was carried out into the deadly crash.

On August 11, Iran banned all its Antonov-140 (which is known under the trademark Iran-140 as it is assembled in Iran) passenger planes from flying.

“President Hassan Rouhani has ordered a halt of Iran-140 flights until further notice,” Jahangirian said then.

Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi was then tasked by the president to carry out a thorough investigation into the causes of the incident.

President Rouhani also ordered Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi to take all the necessary measures to provide the best medical care for those injured in the tragic accident.

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