Ten dead as avalanches hit region close to Iranian capital

Alborz mountain range is popular with hikers, climbers and skiers

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A series of avalanches killed 10 people in a mountainous area north of the Iranian capital Tehran, state TV reported on Sunday.

The report said rescue teams were searching for missing people after the avalanches struck in four areas.

State TV aired footage of emergency crews using a helicopter to search for those missing and injured.

Nine people were killed on the mountain and one died in hospital after being rescued, Mehdi Valipour, head of emergency operations at Iranian Red Crescent, was quoted as saying by state broadcaster Irib.

At least seven climbers were still unaccounted for on three popular trails, Valipour said earlier.

The incidents happened on Friday following strong winds and snowfall a day earlier.

The Alborz mountain range where the avalanches struck is popular on weekends for its hiking and climbing.

Deadly avalanches are rare in Iran. In 2017, two avalanches killed 11 hikers.

Separately, Iranian maritime authorities were searching for the seven crew members of an Iranian transport vessel that capsized in rough Gulf waters on Friday, the semi-official Isna news agency reported.

“We are trying to find the missing by mobilising all our facilities and forces, and informing passing vessels and the naval search and rescue centres of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan,” Esmail Makkizadeh, deputy head of Iran’s regional maritime body, was quoted as saying by Isna.