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71 people killed in IranAir crash

Seventy-one people died after an IranAir passenger jet carrying 106 people crashed as it was making an emergency landing in a snowstorm in the country's north-west.

The others passengers survived with light injuries after the plane broke apart on impact.

The pilots of the Boeing-727, operated by Iran's national airline, attempted the emergency landing in the city of Orumiyeh after reporting a technical failure to the control tower, according to reports.

The nature of the technical failure was unclear. A spokesman for the Iranian civil aviation organisation, Abbas Mosayebi, said only that the plane "faced an incident".

The network also said the aircraft disappeared from radar and went down in farmland after making a second attempt to land. There was no word on what might have caused the crash. The aircraft was headed from Tehran to Orumiyeh, capital of West Azerbaijan province, a distance of about 460 miles.

State television aired footage showing rescue workers and local farmers searching for survivors in parts of the wrecked plane under snowfall and in the darkness.

Thirty-five people survived, including two crew members, said Javad Mahmoudi, another deputy governor for West Azerbaijan, speaking to State TV. He put the number of confirmed dead at 71.

Some of the passengers were only lightly wounded and able to walk off the plane and some were taken to hospital, Mosayebi said.

Heavy snow complicated rescue efforts, said the head of the State Emergency Canter, Gholam Reza Masoumi.

The plane broke into several pieces, but there was no explosion or fire, said Mahmoud Mozaffar, head of the rescue department of Iran's Red Crescent Society.

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