By: Mir M.Hosseini
Iran's Aseman Airlines Flight # 6895, an Itek Air Boeing 737-219 Advanced (registered as EX-009), was a charter flight operated on behalf of Iran Aseman Airlines which crashed on August, 24 2008 (at 20:30 local time) near Manas International Airport in Kyrgyzstan while en route to Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), Tehran, Iran. It crashed while returning to the airport of origin after experiencing technical difficulties.
Reports state that members of the crew reported "technical issues" with the plane shortly after take-off. Within 10 minutes the crew reported a severe loss of cabin pressure. When they attempted to make an emergency landing, the aircraft crashed approximately 2 km from the airport runway and burst into flames. There were 90 people on board (83 passengers and 7 crew members) of whom 68 died. At least 22 are reported to have survived, including 2 crew members. The victims included ten members of a Bishkek high school sports team.
The Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) attempted to retrieve data from the flight-data and cockpit voice-recorders, which were badly damaged in the fire which destroyed most of the aircraft. While disassembling the casing, both the mechanisms of the tape recorder and the tape media in the voice recorder were found in damaged condition, but the MAK attempted to read the data from the damaged media.
The MAK has drawn final conclusions. The report claims that the forward left cabin door was not closed completely, and that the person who closed it was an engineer who was not listed among those (in the Cabin Attendant Manual) who were supposed to close the door. The report concludes that the aircraft originally lost cabin pressure due to this error, but that it was just a contributing factor to the crash. The plane could have landed with reduced pressure, but the pilot failed to maintain visual contact with the runway, failed to properly monitor altitude and ignored automated warnings about terrain proximity (TAWS)
It has been reported that both the captain and co-pilot have been sentenced to five years and five years and two months respectively in a penal colony for the crash.
The crashed plane first flew on June 16, 1980 and was delivered on July 1 of the same year to Air New Zealand. In 1995, it changed hands to Copa Airlines, and in 2003 again changed hands to Phoenix Aviation. In 2005, Phoenix Aviation was re-branded as AVE.com, and in April 2006, it changed hands to Itek Air.
Itek Air, along with all air carriers certified by the authorities with responsibility for regulatory oversight of Kyrgyzstan, is included in a European Union list of banned airlines for safety concerns and is therefore not permitted to fly over the territory of the EU.
In May 2008, EX-009 had passed a full technical inspection.
It's been reported that the United States Air Force stationed at US Manas Air Base sent ambulances and fire apparatus with firefighters and medical personnel from its base at the airport in response to a request for assistance. The US Manas Air Base was mentioned in Iran related news when a notorious terrorist named Abdolmalek Rigi was caught in Iranian air space on Feb, 23, 2010.