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117 feared lost in Iran plane crash

A Tupolev Tu-154 similar to the one that has crashed
A Tupolev Tu-154 similar to the one that has crashed  

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Search and rescue operations will resume Wednesday morning for an Iranian passenger plane carrying 117 people that crashed Tuesday morning into a mountainside in northwestern Iran, government officials said.

The government said there were no signs of any survivors and that bad weather was being viewed as the cause of the crash.

Officials called off the search overnight due to cold temperatures and snow at the site about 360 kilometers (about 225 miles) southwest of Tehran.

Rescue teams, including aid workers and army and security personnel, rushed to the mountainside to join the search, officials said. Mountain climbing equipment was being used by searchers to get to the crash site.

State media reported that rescue workers spotted parts of the plane with binoculars.

The Russian-made Tupolev Tu-154 passenger jet, owned by Iran Air subsidiary Iran Air Tours, crashed after taking off from Tehran at about 6:30 a.m. (10 p.m. Monday ET) en route to Khorramabad.

The plane, which can carry up to 148 people, lost contact with Khorramabad airport just minutes before it was expected to land.

According to sources, the jet hit a high mountain about 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of Khorramabad in conditions that may have included heavy fog.

Khorramabad is to the east of the Zagros mountain range, which runs along the border with Iraq.

Residents of a village near Khorramabad heard a "big explosion" and saw a fire after the Tupolev went down, state radio was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

Last May, a Russian-built Yakovlev Yak-40 plane carrying 30 people, including the transport minister and seven parliamentarians, crashed near the northern town of Sari, killing all on board.

-- CNN's Kasra Naji contributed to this report.


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