TEHRAN: The hunt for a plane that went missing in Iran's Zagros mountains resumed for a third day on Tuesday with better weather raising hopes for the search and rescue teams.
"Given the good weather conditions, clear skies and less wind, there is a good visibility today for continuing the search," Mojtaba Khaledi, spokesperson for the emergency services, told the official IRNA news agency.
Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 disappeared on Sunday morning in the Zagros mountains with 66 people on board.
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"Because of the many cliffs, valleys and high mountains, searching is very difficult for the land team and it will not have that much success," Khaledi said.
"The only possible way for finding a trace of the plane is the aerial search."
Khaledi said there was "concrete evidence and witness accounts" to indicate that the plane was flying too low to have made it past the Dena mountain where the search has been focused.
Heavy snow and rain since Sunday have hindered the search around the 14,465-foot (4,409-metre) peak, which is popular with Iranians training for climbs in the Himalayas.
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The ATR-72 twin-engine plane, in service since 1993, flew early Sunday from Mehrabad airport towards the city of Yasuj, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) to the south.
Search teams flew some 60 helicopter sorties on Monday in poor visibility but have yet to find any trace of the plane.
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