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40 Die in Crash of Iranian Airliner in UAE - 2004-02-10

An Iranian plane has crashed in the United Arab Emirates, killing at least 40 people on board. At least three people survived the crash.

Officials said the Kish Airlines plane crashed at around 11 AM local time (0700 GMT), as it was preparing to land at Sharjah airport.

Television footage showed the flaming wreckage of the partially destroyed plane. The bodies of those killed were lined up on the ground, covered with blankets, as rescue workers battled the flames.

The United Arab Emirates' official news agency reported that a few people survived the initial impact, and were taken to a nearby hospital. Two people later died.

The plane went down in an open area, about three kilometers from the airport. No casualties were reported on the ground.

The flight took off early Tuesday from the Iranian Gulf island of Kish, and was carrying passengers from Iran, Egypt, India, Nigeria and several other countries.

Foreign workers who need to renew their visas often travel the flight route between Kish and the United Arab Emirates.

An Iranian official said the plane was a twin-engine turboprop, capable of transporting up to 50 passengers and six crew members.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.