Plane catches fire at Teheran airport; 100 passengers evacuated unhurt, says state TV

An image of the plane uploaded to social media. SCREENSHOT: TWITTER/TASNIM NEWS

GENEVA (REUTERS) - An airliner caught fire on landing at Teheran's Mehrabad airport on Tuesday (March 19) but all 100 passengers were evacuated without injury, the head of Iran's emergency department said on state television.

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

The plane was a Fokker 100 belonging to Iran Air, the Fars news agency reported.

The pilot was not able 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.

The plane was flying from Qeshm island in the Gulf to Teheran, according to the IRIB news agency.

A picture posted by IRIB showed a plane on a runway with white smoke streaming from the back.

IRIB 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.

Teheran says US sanctions have long prevented it from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the West to modernise its fleet.

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