U.S. officials on Thursday said that a Ukrainian Airlines plane with 176 people on board that crashed in Tehran, Iran on Wednesday was, in fact, shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile. The allegation was initially made by unnamed sources, and it quickly went public when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed the information in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Now, a video obtained by The New York Times appears to show the moment that the missile exploded, causing the Boeing 737-800 to crash, killing everyone on board. The NYT visual investigations team verified the authenticity of the video, saying it shows that when the missile blew up, "the plane did not explode."
Instead, Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 "continued flying for several minutes and turned back toward the airport" before crashing in flames, according to the NYT account.
The independent investigative group Bellingcat also verified the video, reporting via Twitter that a block of buildings visible in the video were constructed recently in the Tehran suburb of Parand, where the plane went down.
CNN correspondent Barbara Starr reported via her Twitter account that "it was two Russian made Sa-15" missiles that shot down the Ukrainian plane, according to information conveyed by a U.S. official. U.S. intelligence detected that an Iranian anti-aircraft unit "painted" the plane — a term that usually refers to zeroing in on a target using lasers.
The video obtained by The New York Times and posted on Twitter by Bellingcat may be seen below.In his public statement on Thursday, Trudeau said that Canada had intelligence from multiple sources including Canada's own intelligence agencies to show that "evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile," as quoted by The Associated Press.
Trudeau added that the alleged shootdown "may well have been unintentional."
Among the 176 passengers were 63 Canadians, who were headed to Kiev, Ukraine, where they were set to catch a connecting flight to Toronto. The plane also carried 82 Iranian nationals, as well as 11 Ukrainians, and residents of four other countries as well.
As The Inquisitr reported on Wednesday afternoon, early evidence identified by aviation journalist Jeff Wise strongly indicated that the plane crashed as the result of a missile strike, rather than "engine failure," which was the initial assessment given by Iranian officials.
On Wednesday, according to a Reuters report, western intelligence sources — including a Canadian security source — said they saw "no signs" that the plane had been the victim of a missile strike. They offered no details, however, as to what led them to rule out a shootdown, a judgment that has apparently been reversed less than 24 hours later.