82 Iranians, 63 Canadians among dead Ukrainian President warned against “speculating” on the cause of the disaster The flight disappeared from radars just two minutes take-off Crashed Boeing was checked two days ago, says Ukrainian airline
A UKRAINIAN airliner carrying 176 people from seven countries crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran on Wednesday, killing all on board. The vast majority of the passengers on the Boeing 737 flight from Tehran to Kiev were non-Ukrainians, including 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians, officials said. The crash occurred with tensions high in the Middle-East and shortly after Tehran launched missiles at bases in Iraq housing US troops. But there was no immediate indication of foul play and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned against “speculating” on the cause of the disaster. Footage released by Iranian State media showed a field on fire and the smoking wreckage of the crash.
Rescue workers carried body bags and the passengers’ personal items -- including cases, clothes, a Santa Claus doll and a boxing glove -- were lying amidst the debris. Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), the ex-Soviet country’s privately owned flagship carrier, said flight PS752 took off from Tehran airport at 6:10 am and disappeared from radars just two minutes later. It slammed into farmland at Khalaj Abad, in Shahriar county, about 45 kilometres north-west of the airport, according to reports on Iranian State media. Officials in both Iran and Ukraine said that there was no hope of anyone having survived. As well as the Iranians and Canadians, the passengers included 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister said.
Eleven Ukrainians -- including the nine crew -- were also on board. Canada is home to a large Iranian diaspora community and UIA offers discount flights between Tehran and Toronto, with a transit in Kiev. Officials in Tehran said that 15 children were among the passengers. The semi-official news agency ‘ISNA’ said 13 were students from Tehran’s Sharif University, the most prestigious in the country. The airline -- which suspended its flights to Tehran after the crash -- said the Boeing 737 had been built in 2016 and checked only two days before the accident. “The plane was in working order,” UIA company president Yevgeniy Dykhne told a briefing in Kiev where he choked back tears. “It was one of our best planes with a wonderful crew.” Zelensky, who cut short a vacation to Oman, ordered an investigation into the crash and a sweeping check of “all civilian aircraft” in the country.
“I ask everyone to keep from speculating and putting forth unconfirmed theories about the crash,” Zelensky wrote on Facebook. Iranian state media reported that the plane caught fire after crashing, but a video aired by the state broadcaster appeared to show the plane already on fire as it fell from the night sky. Iran on Wednesday fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing the US military, in the first action of its promised revenge for the US killing of a top Iranian general. “There is a lot of speculation at the moment it has been shot down -- I think that is not going to be the case at all,” said Stephen Wright, a professor of aircraft systems at Tampere University in Finland. “The aircraft was climbing... It was going up in the right direction, which means that something catastrophic has happened. “It could be a bomb or it could be some sort of catastrophic breakup of the aircraft.” The aircraft was not one of the MAX models fitted with anti-stall systems that have been linked with two other recent crashes of Boeing 737s. Boeing, which has been roiled by a nine-month crisis after 737 MAX was grounded, tweeted on Wednesday: “We are aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information.”
Will not give Americans crashed plane’s black boxes: Iran TEHRAN, Jan 8 (AFP) IRAN’S aviation authority said that it would not hand over to Americans the recovered black boxes of a Boeing 737 that crashed on Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers and crew. “We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans,” Iran Civil Aviation Organisation head Ali Abedzadeh said, quoted by ‘Mehr’ news agency. “It’s not yet clear which country the black box will go to for the investigation,” he added. Following the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 shortly after take-off from Tehran on Wednesday, Iran said it had recovered the Boeing 737’s two black boxes. Abedzadeh said that based on global aviation rules, it was the right of the country where air crashes occur to carry out the investigation. “This accident will be investigated by Iran’s aviation organisation but the Ukrainians can also be present during the incident’s investigation,” he added. Under the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, of which Iran, Ukraine and the United States are all members, air crash investigations are led by the country where the accident occurred. However, according to aviation experts, the countries that are capable of analysing black boxes are few -- notably Britain, France, Germany and the United States. France’s Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA), which handles air crash investigations, said it had not received any request for help from the Iranian authorities after Wednesday’s crash.