UPDATE: Ukraine’s Tehran embassy initially blamed engine failure but later removed the statement on Jan 9. Iranian authorities are now in possession of plane’s black boxes and says it won’t hand them over to the US or plane maker, Boeing.
Iran has no formal diplomatic relations with Canada or the US.
While the local media is both privately and publicly owned, it is subject to censorship.
A Ukrainian Boeing 737 bound for Kiev from Tehran taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport has crashed after takeoff due to technical problems in the early hours of the morning (January 8). All 176 passengers on board have been killed in the crash.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko has confirmed that there were 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians on board the Ukrainian airliner. Detailing the casualties on Twitter, he also said there were 11 Ukrainians on board, including nine crew members, ten passengers from Sweden, four from Afghanistan, three from Germany and three from Britain.
Flight radar information shows Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 abruptly disappearing after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini airport. Iranian television reports the jet crashed around 6:22 a.m. local time after its departure was delayed by almost an hour.
What caused the crash?
The plane had taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport when a fire struck one of its engines, says Qassem Biniaz, a spokesperson for Iran’s Road and Transportation Ministry. The pilot of the aircraft then supposedly lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground.
An investigation team was deployed to the site of the crash in the southwestern outskirts of Tehran, civil aviation spokesperson Reza Jafarzadeh said. Those who arrived at the site found a field of debris scattered across farmland in the crash aftermath.
No apparent missile interference
The crash occurred just hours after almost a dozen ballistic missiles were launched at Iraq’s US military bases from Iran. Much of the regional airspace had been cleared due to the recent Iranian missile strikes on US targets in Iraq.
Speculations have been spreading on social media about the plane being shot down by Iranian defense, especially after witnesses saw the plane catching fire before crashing.
Ukraine’s embassy in Iran, however, claims the plane had suffered an engine failure and the crash was not caused by a “missile attack or act of terrorism.”
Boeing crashes in recent months
Boeing has been facing a crisis in the wake of crashes over the last one-and-half years.
The disasters have killed a total of nearly 350 people involving the Boeing 737 MAX jet which has been grounded across the world for ten months now.
The Ukrainian plane that crashed in Tehran on January 8 was a 737-800 jet. The 737-800 and 737 MAX are both variants of Boeing’s 737 narrow-body planes, but the 737-800 hasn’t been grounded.
On March 10, 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed near the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 souls aboard. On October 29, 2018, Lion Air flight 610’s Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 189 passengers.