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Iranian Military Plane Crashes Outside Tehran --> Iranians gathering near the site of the crash on 6 December (epa) 6 December 2005 -- An Iranian military plane crashed into a Tehran apartment block today killing at least 94 people on board and at least 20 people on the ground.

The Associated Press quoted the mayor of Tehran and local news media as saying that at least 111 people were killed, including casualties on the ground.

Police and witnesses say the plane crashed into a 10-story building, setting it ablaze.

"All the residents of the building that was hit by the airplane have been evacuated, even though we had an ongoing fire there and the road was blocked,” Tehran Fire Brigade Chief Ziayi spoke about the crash to reporters. “The fifth floor was on fire, but fortunately all the residents were evacuated."

The Iranian news agency IRNA said most of the passengers on the flight to the southern port of Bandar Abbas were Iranian journalists assigned to cover military exercises in the region.

Police said the pilot had reported engine trouble and requested an emergency landing at Tehran's Mehrabad international airport. The plane hit an apartment block in the Shahrak-e Towhid neighborhood inhabited by members of the military and their families. It lies on the flight path to Mehrabad airport.

IRNA said 94 people were on board the C-130. The semi-official Fars news agency put the number at 106 and quoted police as saying they feared the casualty toll would be heavy.

RFE/RL Iran Report

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