All 48 passengers and crew on board an Iranian jet have reportedly been killed after the plane crashed near an airport in the capital Tehran, state television reported. IRNA agency said the plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Mehrabad airport on Sunday. The news agency said the suspected cause of the crash was an engine failure. The Civil Aviation Authority said the passengers included two infants and three children under the age of 12.
The Sepahan Airlines plane was headed to the eastern city of Tabas, the IRNA and Fars news agencies said, and crashed at 9.18am (04:48 GMT). IRNA's English website had earlier reported it was a Taban Airline jet.
Mehrabad is located in a western suburb of Tehran and mainly functions as a domestic airport. Iran has suffered a series of airplane crashes, blamed on its aging aircraft and poor maintenance. US sanctions prevent Iran from updating its American aircraft and make it difficult to get European spare parts or planes as well. The country has come to rely on Russian aircraft, many of them Soviet-era planes that are harder to get parts for since the Soviet Union's fall.
The last major airliner crash in Iran happened in January 2011, when an Iran Air Boeing 727 broke to pieces on impact while trying an emergency landing in a snowstorm in northwestern Iran, killing at least 77 people.
In July 2009, a Russian-made jetliner crashed in northwest Iran shortly after taking off from the capital, killing all 168 on board. In February 2003, a Russian-made Ilyushin 76 carrying members of the Revolutionary Guard crashed in the mountains of southeastern Iran, killing 302 people aboard.