A Boeing 737-800 jetliner crashed in Iranian airspace at 6:18 a.m. local time Wednesday. The Ukraine International Airlines plane, Flight 752, was flying from Tehran to Kyiv, Ukraine. All 167 passengers and nine crew were killed in the incident, reports Bloomberg. However, a tweet from the International Air Transport Association says 180 people died in the crash.
The crash couldn’t have occurred at a worse time given the regional strife and military escalations in the area between the United States and Iran.
We are deeply saddened by the news of the crash of the Ukraine International Airlines flight shortly after take off from Tehran International Airport.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families & friends of those 180 souls who have lost their lives. ????
— IATA (@IATA) January 8, 2020
This is a tragic event and our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand by them in this difficult time. We are ready to assist in any way needed. pic.twitter.com/TsTlyY34Vd
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) January 8, 2020
It’s important to keep in mind that this story is a developing one and one with many unknowns as of now. With that said, here’s what we know about the crash of Flight 752 so far:
- The Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. Reports say Flight 752 took off at 6:12 a.m. local time and crashed just six minutes later. The crash occurred in Sabashahr, just outside of Tehran, according to Bloomberg.
- Despite the rising military tensions in the region, Iran’s Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization said the cause of the crash was a mechanical issue, with Iran’s transport ministry saying an engine fire most likely caused the crash.
- However, due to the regional tensions and the internet’s penchant for spreading conspiracy theories, speculation has been rife that a stray missile brought down the plane. As of now, there is no evidence that is the case.
- The Guardian is reporting that Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, has confirmed 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three Britons were on the flight when it crashed.
- The crash is Ukraine International Airlines’ first crash since the company started operating in 1992.
- The crash and loss of life will surely send Boeing into crisis management as the company’s 737-Max planes have already been grounded worldwide since March 2019 due to two crashes that killed all on board. The Boeing 737-800 that crashed in Iran is a predecessor to the 737-Max.
- Agence France-Presse has reported that the plane’s black boxes have been found by Iranian authorities. However, there are reports that Iran is refusing to give the black box over to Boeing.
- Under international protocols, Iran has a right to lead the investigation of the crash since it happened on home soil. However, Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk has told Iran it expects that its experts will be able to take part in the investigation, reports Bloomberg.
- A video is circulating on social media that purports to show Flight 752 falling from the sky, but the video has not been verified yet.