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Iran minister dies in plane crash

Transport Minister Rahman Dadman was among those onboard
Transport Minister Rahman Dadman was among those onboard  

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- A missing plane carrying Iran's transport minister and six members of parliament has reportedly been found with all on board dead.

The plane was carrying a total of 29 passengers and crew including Transport Minister Rahman Dadman, Tehran airport officials said.

It was minutes from landing at the city of Sari, 155 miles northeast of Tehran, when contact with the local control tower was lost early on Thursday, the officials said.

The plane was found in a mountainous area between Gorgan and Shahroud, neighbouring cities about 200 miles northeast of Tehran, an Interior Ministry official told The Associated Press.

Transport Minister Dadman and his delegation were on their way to Gorgan to inaugurate the city's airport, the local governor said on state television.

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Provincial officials "were waiting at the Gorgan airport to greet them on their arrival when we lost contact with the plane," Governor Ali Asghar Ahmadi said.

He said the airport control tower at Sari, 155 miles northeast of Tehran, lost contact with the pilot after a final communication.

"The pilot said that because of bad weather, they were heading back to Tehran," Ahmadi said. "It was raining heavily at the time."

Authorities searched for the plane using helicopters, aircraft and boats, as Sari and Gorgan lie near the Caspian Sea.

The plane, a Russian-built YAK-40, was operated by Faraz Qeshm Airlines, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Dadman, 44, was appointed to the Cabinet in January. He was married and had four children. He had a degree in civil engineering and was a member of Tehran University's teaching staff.

Dadman was known as an influential reformist politician close to President Mohammad Khatami. He had previously been in charge of Iran's railways.

• Biography of Rahman Dadman
• Presidency of The Islamic Republic of Iran
• Mohammad Khatami, President of Iran

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