A Ukrainian passenger plane has crashed shortly after taking off from the Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, Iran.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was travelling to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv after taking off at 6.12 am local time on Wednesday. The plane, carrying 176 passengers and crew, sent its last signal two minutes after taking off. The following crash is thought to have left no survivors.
One of the aircraft’s black boxes has been found by rescue workers according to Iranian media. Ukraine International Airlines has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely and said that the aircraft involved in the crash had completed its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko has said that 82 of the victims were Iranians, 63 were Canadians, 11 were Ukrainians, there were 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons on board, who are all thought to have died in the crash.
The aircraft involved in the crash was a Boeing 737-800. There are several thousand planes of this model in operation, and they have been involved in 10 incidents. The plane that crashed is understood to have been newly delivered to the airline in 2016, and the airline had never before experienced a fatal crash. The model of plane is different to the 737 Max which was grounded in countries across the world after two crashes killed 346 people.
According to Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran, engine failure caused the crash of the aircraft, however, a full investigation is underway. The embassy said;
“According to preliminary information, the plane crashed as a result of an engine failure for technical reasons. Currently, the version of a terrorist attack is ruled out,”
Some reports have suggested that the plane was already on fire in the air before it crashed.
Early on Wednesday morning local time, Iran launched missiles against Iraqi military bases where US troops were stationed. Speculation has tried to link the two events, however, an official report is yet to be produced.