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Iran Plane Crash Kills 77

A plane crash in northwest Iran has killed at least 77 people, Iranian authorities said Monday.

A provincial official, Javad Mahmoudi, told the Associated Press that 77 people died when a snowstorm Sunday night forced the national airlines jet to make an emergency landing.

Mahmoudi said 27 were injured, some critically.

The number of deaths was initially unclear. Police originally reported that 71 of the 106 passengers on board died. Meanwhile, Iranian Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani told the press that there were 105 passengers on the plane, including 2 children, and that 72 were killed and 33 lightly injured.

An investigation of the Boeing-727′s black box revealed that pilots reported a technical failure to the control tower before the crash. The craft then broke into several pieces, but there was no explosion or fire, AP reports.

The plane was on a 460-mile flight from Tehran to Orumiyeh and crash-landed in farmland outside the city, where snowy weather conditions impeded rescue efforts.

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Swiss Alps Wildlife Hurt by Increase in Winter Tourism

BERN, Switzerland, Dec. 27 (UPI) — Swiss authorities say they are urging winter tourists to be aware of their impact on wildlife in the Alps.

With the booming popularity of winter sports such as free-ride snowboarding and snowshoe walking, Alpine wildlife — especially its deer population — is being impacted as never before, and officials are becoming concerned that human activity is threatening their survival, Swissinfo reported Sunday.

In response, Swiss federal wildlife officials, in cooperation with environmental groups and tourism managers, have launched an international awareness campaign urging visitors to stick to established routes, the Web site said.

Swiss mountain ranger Andres Overturf wouldn’t point fingers at any particular sport or activity, but noted that skiers, snowboarders and cross-country snowshoe hikers are all impacting wildlife by taking unpredictable paths.

“Animals can get used to human presence off-piste but only if people stick to the same routes and zones,” Overturf told Swissinfo, saying wild animals are losing crucial retreat spaces and must expend much physical energy to run away through high snow and cold temperatures.

“Added to this is food scarcity and often there is not enough time to rest because of the stress,” he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollution, Animals, Business & Economics, Consumer Products, Ecosystems, Mammals, Nature & Ecosystems, Pollution & Toxins, Recreation & Travel, Walking0 Comments

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