Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Ukrainian Airliner Crashes in Iran, Killing 176

Ukrainian Airliner Crashes in  Iran, Killing 176

DUBAI/KIEV - A Ukrainian airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran early on Wednesday, bursting into flames and killing all 176 people on board.
Debris and smouldering engine parts from the Boeing 737, which carrier Ukraine International Airlines said was last serviced two days ago, were strewn across a field southwest of the Iranian capital where rescue workers in face masks laid out scores of body bags.
Among the victims were 82 from Iran, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, three Germans and three Britons, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said. Most passengers were in transit, the airline said.
The accident occurred as confrontation between Iran and the United States threatens to trigger a wider conflict in the Middle East, but officials cautioned that speculation about the cause of the crash was premature.
It was the Kiev-based carrier’s first fatal accident, and it said it was doing everything possible to establish what had happened.
Under international rules, responsibility for investigating the crash lies with Iran, and Iranian state television said both of the plane’s black boxes had been found.
An amateur video, run by Iranian news agencies and purportedly of the crashed plane, showed a flash in the sky descending rapidly with comments that the aircraft was “on fire”, followed by a larger flash as it appears to hit the ground. Reuters could not independently authenticate the footage.
Asked at a briefing in Kiev if the plane could have been downed by a missile, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk cautioned against speculation until the results of the investigation were known. (Reuters)