Istanbul: A wealthy Turkish socialite and her friends are among the 11 people who died when a private plane bringing them home from a bachelorette party in the UAE crashed into an Iranian mountainside, according Turkish officials.
UPDATE: Iranian investigators found the "black box" from a Turkish private jet that crashed in an Iranian mountain range on its way from the United Arab Emirates to Istanbul, killing all 11 people on board that included a Turkish bride-to-be and her bachelorette party.
Authorities recovered all the dead from the crash site in the Zagros Mountains outside of the city of Shahr-e Kord, some 370 kilometers (230 miles) south of Iran's capital, Tehran, according to a report by the state-run IRNA news agency.
Officials have so far identified eight bodies, including that of Mina Basaran, the 28-year-old daughter of the chairman of Turkey's Basaran Investment Holding, AP reported quoting the semi-official Mehr news agency reported Monday.
The jet was owned by the private holding company of Turkish businessman Huseyin Basaran, and carried eight passengers and three crew, an official for Turkey's transport ministry said.
The passengers included Basaran's daughter Mina Basaran, 28, and seven of her friends, all flying back from the party ahead of her planned wedding next month.
Basaran, a former deputy chairman of Trabzonspor football club, owns businesses that span yachts to energy.
One of his companies is the top shareholder in Bahrain Middle East Bank BSC, a small investment bank. His construction projects include a series of luxury apartment blocks on Istanbul's Asian side called "Mina Towers", named after his daughter.
Turkey's Daily Sabah reported that the private jet was carrying the Basaran Holdings heir and bride-to-be.
UPDATE — Private plane that crashed in southwestern Iran was carrying Başaran Holding's heir and bride-to-be Mina Başaran and 7 of her friends flying to Istanbul from a bachelorette party in Dubai https://t.co/CRnBGW1xX7 pic.twitter.com/ZZ77eWhyxV— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) March 11, 2018— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) March 11, 2018
Mina Basaran was posting images of her trip to her popular Instagram account, which has more than 58,000 followers.
The last photo on her account showed her surrounded by seven other young women, all wearing robes and sunglasses.
The post, tagged #minasbachelorette, said it was taken at the One and Only Royal Mirage luxury hotel in Dubai.
Shortly before the plane - reported to have been a Bombardier C600 series - dropped off the radar, the pilot requested to fly at a lower altitude, Iran's Civil Aviation Authority told local media outlets.
Images on social media showed a large plume of black smoke emerging from the Zagros Mountains near Shahr-e Kord in Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari province. By late on Sunday evening, just a few hours after news of the crash, there were more than 7000 comments on the photo.
The wreck of the jet and the bodies are found. They will be carried down from the mountain when sun comes up.
My condolences to those who lost their loved ones," the head of the Turkish Red Crescent, Kerem Kinik, said on Twitter, citing his Iranian sister organisation.
Local residents who had reached the site of the crash said there appeared to be no survivors and victims' bodies were burnt, ISNA news agency reported, quoting Mojtaba Khaledi, spokesman for Iran's emergency services.
Melike Kuvvet, the captain of the jet, was one of the first female pilots in the Turkish military, before she resigned and started to work in the private sector, Turkish media reports said.