Head of Armenian Civil Aviation Warns Iranian Counterparts

YEREVAN (combined sources)–Hovanes Yeritsian–head of the Armenian Civil Aviation Department–has sent an official letter to his Iranian colleagues warning them against making hasty conclusions regarding the May 17 plane crash–operated by an Armenian crew–which led to the death of 30 passengers–including Iran’s transport minister. The Iranian IRNA news agency quoted earlier in the week a senior Iranian official as saying that human error was most likely the cause of the crash.

Yeritsian is calling on his Iranian colleagues to wait until the end of an official investigation into the reasons of the crash–being conducted now by Russian–Armenian and Iranian experts in Moscow–where the two black boxes were sent to be examined. Yeritsian says in his letter that making such announcemen’s before the end of the investigation is not acceptable and is a violation of the international norms. Yeritsian also notes that an Iranian national was among the crew members–and that the flight was controlled by Iranian land services–whose work might also have affected the flight.

The black boxes of the Iranian airliner are missing information that should have been recorded–the official IRNA agency reported Tuesday. Vali Azarvach–the deputy heading the commission into the crash–was quoted by IRNA as saying "we do not know why the electric current supplying the black boxes was cut. The idea emerging from the study of these boxes is not good," he said without elaborating.

He said that "one of the boxes is completely blank and neither radio conversations nor the conditions of the accident have been recorded. The flight conditions do not correspond to the standards of the international civil aviation organization. The plane’s pilot had never made this journey–and he had not been given the information necessary for the flight–in particular the meteorological conditions," he said.

Iranian aviation authorities recently announced plans to outlaw foreign pilots on Iranian planes–although Iran leases many aircraft from other nations to fill the gaps in its air transport system.

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