Black box recovered from Iran plane crash site

Tehran: Thousands of people joined a funeral ceremony in Orumiyeh, the capital of West Azerbeijan province for victims of the Iranian plane crash close to the city's airport. Some of those present carried wreaths and pictures of the victims.

The black box of the plane that crashed over the weekend, killing nearly 80, has been found.  The passenger jet broke into pieces while trying an emergency landing in a snowstorm in northwestern Iran.

The pilots of the Boeing-727, operated by Iran's national airline and carrying 104 passengers and crew, reported a technical failure to the control tower before trying to make the landing on Sunday night.

Iran's transport minister Ahmad Majidi has confirmed that the black box, recovered from the site was being examined by a committee probing the crash. A team of 11 experts are combing the site for further clues. Iran has not asked for Boeing assistance in the investigation.

The minister has also clarified that the flight was carrying 104 passengers and crew.  The bodies of 54 people have been identified.

According to Majidi the aircraft was 37 years old and had been serviced just a few months ago.