TEHRAN — A Boeing 707 cargo plane traveling from Kyrgyzstan crashed on Monday while trying to land west of Tehran, the Iranian capital, state media reported, and an emergency official said that only one of the 16 on board was known to have survived.
Fire immediately engulfed the aircraft after it skidded off a runway and crashed into a wall separating the Fath Airport from a residential neighborhood. Images carried by Iran’s state-run media showed the burned-out tail of the plane sticking out, surrounded by charred homes.
The plane crashed at the airport, which belongs to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, after diverting from its intended destination, the nearby Payam International Airport, about 25 miles west of Tehran.
The authorities did not immediately offer a reason for the crew’s decision to land there, although they said the crew had declared an emergency before landing.
Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of the country’s emergency medical services, said the flight engineer was the person among the 16 people on board the plane known to have survived. Iranian media reported seven bodies from the crash had already been recovered.
The plane reportedly was carrying a cargo of meat from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, to Iran.
Iran’s air force said in a statement that the fate of the crew, including their possible “martyrdom,” was under investigation. It was not immediately clear who owns the plane, although Gen. Shahin Taghikhani, an army spokesman, told state TV that the plane and its crew were Iranian.
Iranians often use the word “martyrdom” for those who die in war or national service, suggesting the aircraft may have belonged to the air force. The Iranian air force operates Boeing 707s, and it also has a civilian airline, SAHA.