A Ukrainian Boeing-737 with more than 170 people from seven countries on board has crashed in Iran.
Iran’s Red Crescent said there was no chance of finding survivors.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv crashed just after taking off from Iran’s Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).
The Ukraine embassy in Tehran said engine failure caused the crash and there was no link to terrorism.
“According to preliminary information, the plane crashed as a result of an engine failure for technical reasons. Currently, the version of a terrorist attack is ruled out,” the embassy said on the Ukraine Foreign Ministry’s website.
Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including all the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons, and three Germans, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was cutting short a trip to Oman and flying back to Kyiv. He warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports were ready.
“My sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of all passengers and crew,” he said in a statement.
Some 168 passengers and nine crew members were confirmed to have been registered to fly on the aircraft.
Ukraine International Airlines has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely. The airline said that the aircraft had had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
Rescue teams have been sent to the crash site but the head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state media that it was “impossible” for anyone to have survived the crash.
Rescue workers had found one of the airliner’s black boxes, Iranian media reported.
Ukraine has organized special planes to fly to Iran to take back the bodies of those killed, pending Iran’s agreement, Mr. Zelensky said.
Aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC that the aircraft involved in the crash had been manufactured in 2016 and delivered new to the airline.
“The airplane was heavily fragmented which means either there was an intense impact on the ground or something happened in the sky,” he said.
“From all appearances, this was an airplane that had been properly cared for and there were no outstanding issues with respect to European authorities or American authorities so at this point there is nothing that points to a particular cause.”
Mr. Curtis said Iranian, Ukrainian, US, and French authorities would all be involved in the investigation, but it was unclear how they would work together. Iran is currently under US sanctions and there are severe tensions between the two countries.
“They will start putting together the story of what happened on that airplane… to see if there is something about the condition of the aircraft or the fuel onboard that might have led to this,” he said.
“And also one cannot discount the possibility that something outside the aircraft, a mid-air collision or some other issue, may have been involved.”
There are several thousand Boeing 737-800s in operation around the world which have completed tens of millions of flights. They have been involved in 10 incidents, including this crash, where at least one passenger was killed, Mr. Curtis said.
This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.
SOURCE – BBC NEWS