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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