18 Iranians killed in Thai air crash: official

September 19, 2007 - 0:0

BANGKOK (AFP) - Iranian embassy officials said Tuesday that 18 of its nationals died when a Thai passenger jet crashed in bad weather as it tried to land on the southern resort island of Phuket.

Safdar Shafiee, first secretary at Tehran's embassy in Bangkok, said that the six Iranians who survived the crash on Sunday, which killed 89, were in hospital.
""Among the 18 who died, 15 have been identified by the team from the Iranian embassy,"" Shafiee said.
Thai officials, however, would not release the bodies until Iran provided further evidence of their identity, he said.
""We need more evidence such as DNA and fingerprints of their relatives, so we have called their relatives in Iran to get more evidence,"" he said.
""We want to take these bodies back to Iran as soon as possible but the Thai officials aren't allowing us to, and their relatives in Iran are very upset and keep calling us in Bangkok all the time,"" he added.
Iranian officials were still trying to gather evidence to identify three of the 18 victims, Shafiee said.
Police have said that 57 foreigners were among the 89 people who died when the MD-82 aircraft operated by budget carrier One-Two-Go crashed in bad weather and caught fire.
Citizens from Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the United States were also among the dead