By: Mir M.Hosseini
Iran Air Flight 277 was a passenger flight which crashed near Urmia Airport, West Azarbaijan province, Iran, on January 9, 2011. 77 of the 105 aboard died. The aircraft involved, a Boeing 727-286 Advanced, was operating Iran Air's scheduled domestic service from Mehrabad International Airport, Tehran, to Urmia. It crashed after a go-around was initiated during final approach, in poor weather conditions.
The aircraft involved in the accident was a Boeing 727, registration EP–IRP, built in 1974. The aircraft had spent a long time out of service. It was impounded at Baghdad, Iraq from 1984 to 1990, and then placed in storage from 1991 to 2002. It was then overhauled and returned to service.
The flight was travelling between Tehran and Urmia and crashed on final approach near Urmia Airport. The accident occurred at around 19:45 local time, and was reportedly caused by poor weather. The aircraft had missed its first attempt at landing; it either crashed during a go-around, or while attempting to return to Tehran. The weather conditions at the time of the accident included snow and low visibility. Upon impact, the aircraft broke into multiple pieces, though without fire or explosions. There were differing initial reports as to the type of aircraft that crashed, with either a Fokker 100 or a Boeing 727 claimed to have crashed, although the aircraft was later confirmed to be a Boeing 727.
Initial reports of the number of people on board were unclear. RIA–Novosti reported 95 passengers were on the aircraft, Reuters reported 156 passengers, and the Associated Press claimed 105 passengers. Later reports put the total at either 105 or 106 people on board, with between 10 and 12 crew and either 95 or 94 passengers. The Iran Civil Aviation Organization stated the day after the crash that a total of 93 passengers and 12 crew members were on board, according to the manifest of the flight.
At least 77 people were killed and 26 were injured. Rescue efforts were complicated by heavy snow in the area. A local official stated that problem at the moment for rescue work was the heavy snow, which he said was around 70 cm deep at the site of the crash. In the aftermath of the crash, 36 ambulances and 11 hospitals were utilized in the rescue operations.
Iran ordered an inquiry into the crash. A day after the accident, searchers at the location had obtained both the flight's cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. Iran's Transport Ministry stated that the investigation will comprise several working groups which will include specialists in various areas, including aircraft structure, engine parameter recordings and pilot operations. The investigation will be overseen by the Iran Civil Aviation Organization. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were taken to Tehran for analysis.