On Tuesday, Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, a Boeing 737-800, flying from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran to Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport crashed just minutes after taking off. All 176 people on board were reported dead, including 15 children and one infant. The victims included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, 4 Afghans, 3 Germans, and 3 British nationals.
FOOTAGE: All 176 Passengers killed in the Ukrainian Plane Crash in Iran.#Ukrainian President has Instructed to open a Criminal Investigation.#WWIII #Ukraine #UkrainianAirlines #ukraineplanecrash pic.twitter.com/QFrxBUE5tG
— Shabbat Ala Biafra (@ShabbaAlaBiafra) January 8, 2020
It should be noted that the crashed jet was an older model. The new models were grounded in March after two Boeing 737 Max airplanes crashed. The older models of the Boeing 737 had a long record of reliable service.
Iranian media cited a Red Crescent Society assessment that the crash was the result of mechanical failure and the Ukranian Embassy in Iran initially released a statement agreeing. The Ukranian government quickly retracted that statement, announcing they would wait until complete results of an investigation were released. The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Chief Executive Ali Abedzadeh announced that Iran would not turn over the airliner’s “black box” recorder to the U.S. though he did invite Canada and Sweden to participate in the Iranian investigation.
Here’s the “black box” from the Ukrainian plane that crashed near Tehran earlier this morning. (Iranian state TV) pic.twitter.com/gYTLArU6LO
— BBC Monitoring (@BBCMonitoring) January 8, 2020
On Thursday, a Pentagon official, a senior U.S. intelligence official, and an Iraqi intelligence official, none of whom were authorized to speak publicly about the incident, told
Newsweek that the crash was the result of an attack by the Iranian military firing a Russian Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system, known to NATO as Gauntlet. It is known that Russia delivered 29 of the missiles to Iran in 2007 as part of a weapons deal signed in December 2005.
CBS Evening News reported on Thursday that U.S. intelligence picked up signals of the radar being turned on and satellite-detected infrared blips of two missile launches.
MORE: U.S. intelligence picked up signals of the radar being turned on and satellite detected infrared blips of two missile launches, probably SA-15s, followed shortly by another infrared blip of an explosion. https://t.co/o1frLg2X5b
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 9, 2020
The CBS report also claimed that missile components had been found near the crash site.
Second image (right) of Tor anti-aircraft missile debris, supposedly from near the #PS752 crash site. Still unverified, and still going to be very hard to geolocate it based on what’s visible in the image. h/t @Liberalist_30 pic.twitter.com/TQNRp6hopj
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) January 9, 2020
The airliner crashed shortly after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing U.S. and allied forces in Iraq. The officials believe the firing of missiles at the civilian airliner was accidental, coming after Iran’s air-defense systems were activated in the wake of the Iranian attack.
Abzedah responded to these statements by saying that a missile strike was “scientifically impossible and such rumors make no sense at all.”
On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that his government had received “intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence” indicating “that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.”
“This may well have been unintentional,” he added. “This new information reinforces the need for a thorough investigation into this matter. Canada is working with its allies to ensure that a thorough and credible investigation is conducted to determine the causes of this fatal crash.”
Soon after the incident. a flurry of online conjecture questioned the Ukranian explanation. Based on images, it was suggest that holes in the wreckage were consistent with shrapnel from an anti-air attack.
— Zalmi U (@ZalmiU) January 8, 2020
Several eyewitnesses reportedly saw the plane going down in flames.
The president seemed to agree that the airliner may have been shot down by the Iranians.
“Well, I have my suspicions,” President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House following Newsweek‘s report. “It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood and someone could have made a mistake.”