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World Iran Air plane catches fire at Tehran airport, 100 passengers evacuate unhurt

An Iran Air Boeing 747 passenger plane sits on the tarmac of the domestic Mehrabad airport in the Iranian capital Tehran on Jan. 15, 2013. (File photo)

BEHROUZ MEHRI/Getty Images

An airliner caught fire on landing at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on Tuesday but all 100 passengers were evacuated without injury, the head of Iran’s emergency department said on state television.

A video posted by the Islamic Republic News Agency showed flames and sparks shooting out from the back of the plane at the moment of landing.

The fire broke out after the aircraft’s landing gear did not open properly, and was later brought under control, emergency department head Pir-Hossein Kolivand said.

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The pilot was unable to open the back wheels of the plane and circled the airport attempting to open all the wheels before landing the plane on its body, according to Fars news agency.

The plane was a Fokker 100 belonging to Iran Air, Fars reported. Other agency reports said it was flying from an Iranian island in the Gulf to the capital.

IRIB news agency quoted Reza Jafarzadeh, the head of public relations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation as saying the plane had 24 passengers and nine crew. It did not give any explanation for the discrepancy in the figures.

Iran has suffered a string of plane and helicopter crashes over the past few decades. Tehran says U.S. sanctions have long prevented it from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the West to modernize its fleet.

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