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Plane goes down with its designers

Kiev/Baqerabad (Iran), Dec. 24 (Reuters): Ukraine today mourned the loss of the cream of its aircraft industry, after a plane crashed in Iran killing at least 46 people, including some of the engineers who helped design it.

Iranian investigators said they had recovered the black box and believed pilot error was to blame for yesterday’s crash which killed everyone on board the Antonov An-140.

Ukraine said 48 people had died, but Iranian officials said earlier the number was 46.

Ukraine’s emergencies ministry said they included two leading designers from the Antonov bureau, which designed the aircraft, and several senior officials and top engineers from Ukrainian aircraft producers and engineering companies.

The plant in the eastern city of Kharkiv, where the Antonov An-140 is made, said it had lost its seven leading engineers.

The plane was flying to Isfahan, 414 km south of Tehran, when it smashed into a mountain near the village of Baqerabad.

The Ukrainian designers and engineers along with Russian aircraft officials were visiting Isfahan to test a plane of the same model as the one that crashed.

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