TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- An Iranian passenger plane carrying at least 118 people crashed Tuesday in the snowy mountains of western Iran near Khorramabad, officials said.
No details on the number injured or killed were immediately available, nor was there information on the cause of the crash.
Search teams were sent to the site, said Reza Jaafarzadeh, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran. But they were having difficulty reaching the crash scene due to heavy snow in the Sefid Kouh mountains, the organization said in a statement.
An official in Khorramabad, identified by state television only as Manzari, said search teams that had neared the site had found one of the plane's tires.
Government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that 105 passengers and 13 crew members were aboard Flight 956. Earlier, Jaafarzadeh told The Associated Press that at least 117 passenger and crew were on board.
Iranian television reported that the plane crashed into the Sefid Kouh mountains, 15 miles west of Khorramabad.
The Tu-154, a Russian-made Tupolev operated by state-owned Iran Air Tours, left Tehran at 7:30 a.m. headed for Khorramabad, about 230 miles southwest of the capital, state radio reported.
Residents of a village near Khorramabad heard a "big explosion" and fire after the Tupolev went down, the radio said.
By midday, dozens of relatives of the passengers had gathered at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport, weeping as they sought information on the fate of loved ones.
"Where are you? What happened to you?" shouted Nasrin Shafiiyan, crying and beating her face and chest, as she waited for information about the fate of her husband Houshang, who was on the plane.
She said that the crash was the fault of "the stupid incompetent officials who go and collect second-hand ... planes from all over the former Soviet countries. What is this garbage they buy or rent?"
The television reported that President Mohammad Khatami ordered the formation of an emergency committee to investigate the cause of the crash.
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