Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander among 11 killed as plane attempts emergency landing |

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander among 11 killed as plane attempts emergency landing

TEHRAN, Iran – An Iranian military flight carrying a commander of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards and 10 others crashed Monday while trying to make an emergency landing, killing all aboard, official media reported.Gen. Ahmad Kazemi and 10 Guards officers, including the crew of the French-made Falcon, were killed in the crash at Oroumieh, 560 miles northwest of the capital Tehran, state media reported.Revolutionary Guards spokesman Gen. Masoud Jazayeri told state radio that possible causes of the crash included poor visibility in snowy conditions, dual engine failure and jammed landing gear that prevented the wheels from fully deploying.President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expressed condolences for the death of Kazemi, a veteran of the 1980-88 war with Iraq who was appointed commander of the Guards’ ground forces in August.It was Iran’s second military plane accident in two months. Both planes were attempting to make emergency landings when they crashed.The commander of the Revolutionary Guards rejected the possibility of terrorist sabotage in Monday’s crash.The pilot told the control tower “that the plane’s landing gear was jammed and asked for permission to return to Tehran,” General Yahya Rahim Safavi was quoted as saying by the official Web site of IRIB, Iran’s broadcasting body.”After a few minutes and in his last communications, the pilot informed the tower about failure in both engines,” Safavi said. “The plane crashed shortly afterward.”Reza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for Iran’s civil aviation organization, said it was “too soon” to know the main cause of the crash, and said investigators would listen to recorded communications between the pilot and the control tower.The Falcon, which is made by the French company Dassault, is the preferred aircraft of high-ranking military officers in Iran.Iran has a history of aircraft accidents involving a heavy loss of life. The government has blamed the U.S. trade embargo, which makes it impossible for Iran to buy parts for its old American-built aircraft. Critics have said the planes are poorly maintained.On Dec. 6, a military transport plane crashed into a 10-story building near Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, killing 115 people. The plane, a U.S.-made C-130, had suffered engine trouble and the pilot was returning to the airport when the aircraft suddenly lost altitude and slammed into the apartment building. Most of the passengers were Iranian journalists.Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are separate from the regular armed forces. Founded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Guards have their own air, naval and ground components. Ahmadinejad is a former Guards commander.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism