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Ukrainian airliner crashes in Iran, killing 176 people on board

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — A Ukrainian plane crashed on Wednesday shortly after take-off from Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.

The Boeing 737 crash came hours after Iran launched missiles at two military bases hosting American forces in Iraq. Officials said that speculation of what happened was premature.

Ukraine International Airlines reported that the crashed plane had been serviced only two days ago.

Scrapped debris and engine parts of the plane were scattered in a field southwest of the Iranian capital, where rescuers wearing masks recovered dozens of bodies.

Among the victims, 82 Ukrainians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, ten Swedes, three Germans and three Britons, were among the victims, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Pristiko said.

A passenger list from the airline showed that members of one family were killed. The presence of children on board the plane, and many passengers were less than 35 years old. And Arousan had gone to Iran to marry among the Canadian victims.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “shocked and saddened” and added: “Our government will continue to work closely with international partners to ensure a thorough investigation into the crash and answer Canadian questions.”

This is the first accident of the Ukrainian international airline, which is based in Kiev, and which resulted in deaths. The company said it was doing everything it could to determine the cause.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinsky said in the Ukrainian capital that his country will send a team of experts to Iran later on Wednesday to investigate the circumstances of the crash. He added that he had instructed the Ukrainian public prosecutor to start a criminal investigation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States calls for full cooperation with any investigation into the cause of the crash of the Ukrainian plane and is ready to provide all possible assistance to Ukraine.

The responsibility for investigating the circumstances of the plane crash lay with Iran according to international norms, and the Iranian Radio and Television said that the black boxes were found.

The semi-official Mehr News Agency quoted Ali Abedzadeh, head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Authority, as saying that the country to which Iran will send the black boxes is yet to be determined, so their data will be analyzed, but he made it clear that they will not be delivered to Boeing.

A video clip taken by an amateur and reported by Iranian news agencies showed that the stricken plane glowed in the sky at night quickly falling towards the ground accompanied by comments that the plane was “burning”, followed by a greater glare when the plane apparently collided with the ground. Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the clip.

Iran had earlier fired missiles at two bases hosting American forces in Iraq in response to a US strike with a drone plane that killed a prominent Iranian military commander last week.

Some airlines canceled their flights to Iran and Iraq and diverted other routes away from the airspace of the two countries after the Iranian missile strikes.

Safety experts say that aviation accidents are rarely caused by a single cause, and that investigations usually take several months to understand all the factors behind the accident.

In Paris, the French-American engine manufacturer CFM, which GM has a stake in, said any speculation about the cause of the accident was premature.

Iranian television announced that the accident was the result of unspecified technical faults. Local media quoted a local aviation official as saying that the pilot had not declared a state of emergency before the crash.

An official at the Ukrainian embassy in Tehran said that the Iranian authorities asked to withdraw an earlier statement based on preliminary information and mentioned that the accident occurred as a result of an engine failure.

The Ukrainian International Airlines said that the ill-fated plane was only three years old and it was a Boeing 737-800NJ and was on the way to Kiev and was subject to periodic maintenance on January 6.

“We are in contact with the airline and we are standing with it at this difficult time,” the aircraft maker Boeing said in a statement. We are ready to help by all means required. ”

Boeing 737-800 is one of the most used models in the world and its safety record is good and does not contain a program associated with crashes in Boeing 737 Max aircraft. Boeing halted its fleet of 737 MAX aircraft in March after two Odia crashes, killing 346 people.

The modern aircraft is designed and certified to deal with any engine malfunctions shortly after takeoff and for extended periods of use with a single engine. However, any incapacitated engine malfunctions that cause fragments can damage other aircraft systems.

The US National Transportation Safety Board said it was following developments related to the accident.

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