A Boeing 737 passenger jet operated by a Ukrainian airline crashed Wednesday in Iran, killing all aboard.
The Boeing 737-800 was bound for Kyiv from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport shortly after 6 a.m. local time, according to CNBC.
Ali Kahshani, a senior public relations official at the airport, was quoted by Iran state media as saying mechanical difficulties were the most likely cause of the crash.
Ukraine’s embassy in Iran initially issued a statement that ruled out terrorism.
“According to preliminary information, the plane crashed due to an engine malfunction. The version of the terrorist attack or rocket attack is currently excluded,” the statement said, according to CNN.
The embassy then scrapped that with one that said a commission would look into the crash and that “any statements about the causes of the accident before the decision of the commission are not official,” according to The Washington Post.
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 8, 2020
Iranian officials said the flight data recorders were recovered, but that Iran will not share data with the U.S. or Boeing. However, it said it will share data with Ukraine.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said Ukraine has stopped all flights over Iranian airspace until “the reasons of the tragedy are determined.”
Many other airlines had already stopped flying due to the increase in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which overnight fired ballistic missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq.
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 carried 167 passengers and nine crew members on board.
“No one has survived the crash of the Ukrainian Airlines plane, and we are collecting the bodies,” Pirhossein Koulivand, Iran’s chief of emergency services, told state television. “All emergency and rescue forces are present at the scene.”
Iran said 140 of the dead were Iranian. Other victims were citizens of Canada, Sweden, Britain, Afghanistan and Germany, according to the Ukraine Foreign Ministry.
Global Affairs Canada has just issued an advisory warning Canadians and Canadian-Iranian dual citizens against travelling to Iran. The advisory does not specifically mention the air crash that killed 63 Canadians overnight, but talks of the region’s ‘volatile security situation.’ pic.twitter.com/eFDVHOtVQz
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) January 8, 2020
The airline said the jet that crashed was three years old and had been purchased from Boeing. It had its last routine maintenance on Monday.
“We are aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information,” Boeing said in a statement.
The plane had reached a height of about 7,900 feet when it was last spotted on radar, which was about two minutes after taking off.
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