WASHINGTON – A commercial aircraft chartered by the U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan for a flight to the Persian Gulf city of Dubai was re-routed to Iran on Friday, apparently because of a mix-up over its flight plan, U.S. officials said.
The plane was allowed to depart after spending several hours on the ground in southern Iran. The State Department later confirmed that it had landed in Dubai.
"We appreciate the efforts of all parties to help the passengers get safely to their destination," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. She described the problem as a "bureaucratic issue" with the plane's flight plan.
The plane was flying from Bagram airfield north of Kabul to Dubai. The normal flight path goes through Iranian airspace.
Iranians radioed the plane's crew to say they did not have the proper paperwork and to return to Bagram, a U.S. official said. The pilots said they did not have enough fuel to return so the Iranian authorities told them to land in Iran.
The plane landed at Bandar Abbas in southern Iran, a second U.S. official said. The officials were not authorized to be named and spoke on condition of anonymity.