Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 from Tehran to Kiev crashed into an open field in a Tehran suburb minutes after departure. The three year old Boeing 737-800 with 176 souls on board ceased broadcasting from its transponder as it climbed through 8000 feet. Everyone on board, including 15 children, lost their lives. No emergency transmissions were made by the aircraft prior to impact.
On board were citizens of:
- Iran (82)
- Ukraine (11 including the 9 crew)
- Sweden (10)
- Afghanistan (4)
- United Kingdom (3)
- Germany (3)
— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) January 8, 2020
While conjecture, Aviation Herald reports that the aircraft’s “field of debris expands south of [the location of impact] – which suggests, the aircraft had turned around and was moving in the direction of the airport again.”
There’s video of the aircraft’s climb out as well as descent and impact. It plane was on fire, which prompted the local resident to begin filming.
Several Iranian sources and a Dubai-based news agency reported the cause as an accidental missile strike (the UAE government is an opponent generally of Iran and UAE-based news sources should be taken with a grain of salt on this issue). This speculation has spread broadly.
Tragic news out of Tehran. Preliminary photos (if accurate) show anti-aircraft missile damage, suggesting a shoot down. Holes in Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 control surfaces point to more than “technical problems” @bydanielvictor pic.twitter.com/16pYGoTAfS
— Quinn Hatoff (@QuinnHatoff) January 8, 2020
The airline has suspended its Tehran flights.
Ukraine’s Embassy in Iran initially stated that an engine failure – rather than an attack – caused the crash. However the embassy then deleted its statement and indicated it hadn’t been official. Several airlines have re-routed traffic to avoid the region and the U.S. is banning overflights in the area (U.S. planes might seem at increased risk with the President of Iran citing the downing of Iran Air 655 in response to President Trump’s remarks on tensions).
This is the first crash occurrence for Ukraine International Airlines, the worst disaster for a Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft, and the worst aviation disaster n Iran in a decade.