By Karine Kalantarian
Civil aviation officials in Armenia on Monday refused to comment on reports that human error is likely to have caused the crash earlier this month of an Armenian plane on a domestic Iranian flight. A spokeswoman for the state-run Armenian Airlines, which leased the Soviet-made Yak-40 jet to an Iranian carrier, said official Yerevan will wait until an international inquiry into the disaster is over.
The head of Iran's aviation agency said Sunday he was almost certain that the plane went down on May 17 in northeastern Iran, killing the country's roads and transport minister and all 29 others on board, because of an error committed by its Armenian crew. "Based on evidence gathered so far, the crash was almost certainly caused by mistakes on the part of the pilot," Behzad Mazaheri told the official IRNA news agency. "But the investigation is still underway and we will announce the final results later," he said.
The pilot, co-pilot and the three other crew members were Armenian
The investigation, overseen by the International Civil Aviation
Organization, is being conducted by a team of Russian, Iranian and Armenian experts. The plane's two black boxes found by search teams at the site of the crash have been opened and studied in Moscow. According to Mazaheri, the experts have already examined 38 possible theories of the fatal crash.
Armenian and Iranian officials have dismissed the possibility that the crash might have been caused by a technical failure.