A Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport on Wednesday morning, leaving all 176 people on board dead, according to a report by the CBC. Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals were on board Flight PS752.
The reason for the Boeing 737-800 aircraft’s crash is suspected to be due to mechanical issues, according to Iranian officials, while Ukrainian officials have yet to put forward a cause while an investigation is ongoing.
“Our task is to establish the cause of the crash of the Boeing and provide all necessary help to the families of the victims,” Ukrainian parliament speaker Dmytro Razumkov said in a Facebook statement.
In Iran, the head of air crash investigation committee Hassan Razaeifar only said that the pilot of PS752 was unable to communicate with air-traffic controllers on the ground in Iran in the moments before the crash. Qassem Biniaz, the spokesperson of Iran’s Road and Transportation Ministry, said there appeared to be some type of fire that broke out in the plane’s engine that caused the pilot to lose control and crash. Both of the black boxes from the flight have been recovered. Responsibility for investigating the crash lies with Iran, while Ukraine has offered assistance.
“We’re preparing a group of specialists in order to help with the search operation and the investigation of the cause of the crash,” said Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk.
A Boeing 737 jet operated by Ukraine International Airlines crashed shortly after taking off from Iran, killing all 176 people on board pic.twitter.com/i2eC1LYOg7— TRT World (@trtworld) January 8, 2020
Boeing released a statement on Twitter paying respects to the flight’s crew and passengers, as well as the families that were affected by the crash. The company, which has come under heavy criticism over the past year due to crashes involving its 737 Max 8 model, offered that they were ready to assist in any way that was needed
The crash came only hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi airbases that were housing American soldiers in response to the killing by the United States of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Din Mohammad Qassemi, an Iranian citizen who lives near the crash site, said he had been watching a news report focused on the attack when he heard PS752 crash.
“I heard a massive explosion and all the houses started to shake. There was fire everywhere,” said Qassemi. “At first I thought [the Americans] have hit here with missiles and went in the basement as a shelter. After a while, I went out and saw a plane has crashed over there. Body parts were lying around everywhere.”