08 Jan 2020
Ukrainian plane carrying 176 on-board crashes in Iran; no survivors
In a tragic incident, 176 people (167 passengers and nine crew members) lost their lives this morning when a Ukrainian plane crashed near Iran's international airport in capital Tehran, shortly after take-off.
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft, belonging to Ukraine International Airlines, departed from Imam Khomeini Airport after 6 am (local time) and abruptly disappeared.
Earlier, reports claimed 180 people were on-board the flight.
The ill-fated flight was delayed by an hour
Bound for Boryspil International Airport in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the flight was scheduled to take-off at 5:15 am, but got delayed and started its journey at 6:12 am.
Within 10 minutes, the jet, which was less than four years old, went down.
Civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said, "After taking off from Imam Khomeini international airport, it crashed between Parand and Shahriar."
Visuals showed aircraft pieces scattered in field
The extent of damage was revealed in pictures released by Iran's state-run IRNA agency. The images showed aircraft's pieces lying around in a farm field, while teams worked for rescue.
Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran's Emergency Medical Services, said efforts to save people failed because the site was ablaze.
The Ukrainian government said a crisis group will be formed to investigate the crash.
After accident, Ukrainian President expressed condolences, canceled trip
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed grief after the accident and cut short his trip to Oman.
"My sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all passengers and crew members," he said.
In a Facebook post, he also noted that the country's embassy in Iran was "working to clarify information on the circumstances of the tragedy and the list of deceased passengers".
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Foreign minister confirms there were 82 Iranians on-board
Notably, Ukraine's Foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, said that those on-board the plane included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Brits.
Separately, American company Boeing said it was gathering information
Boeing also released a brief statement, informing that it knows about the disaster and is "gathering information".
It's important to note that 737-800 belongs to the family of 738 Max 8 aircraft, which was grounded after two deadly crashes happened within a span of six months in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
This latest accident brings nothing but bad news for the American aviation giant.
In this case, Boeing might not assist in investigation
Usually, airline manufacturers lend a hand in crash investigations, but it might not happen in this case owing to the sanctions which US President Donald Trump put on Tehran.
As of now, technical glitch is being blamed for the crash and it's unclear if Iran-US tensions have a role in it.
Just before the crash, Iran fired ballistic missiles on bases housing US forces.