Investigators have found the three black boxes belonging to a Russian-made jetliner that crashed in northwest Iran shortly after taking off from the capital, killing all 168 on board, authorities said Thursday.
Remains of the dead — many badly burned and damaged — were brought to Tehran for identification, as relatives from Armenia, the passenger jet's destination, headed for Iran to retrieve their loved ones' bodies.
Khristo for Sogomonian, whose father was among those killed, said he would "try to find anything and to commit his body to the soil," The Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile Ahmad Majidi, an official with the Iranian transportation ministry, told Press TV in Tehran on Thursday that the so-called black boxes had been badly damaged in the crash and that Iranian experts were trying to retrieve the data from them. He said the black boxes, which record the crew’s conversations and the plane’s speed, altitude and heading, might have to be sent to Russia for repair, The New York Times reports.
In the meantime friends and relatives of the victims gathered at the crash site for a religious ceremony on Thursday, throwing flowers into the crater created when the plane hit the ground.
Archbishop Sebo Sarkissian of Iran's Armenian community was among those to take part.
It was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 in Iran since 2002, BBC News reports.
US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Qadimi signed an agreement on July 26 to formally end the USA's military presence in the country by the end of the year