Iran: Ukrainian Boeing 737 flying from Tehran to Kiev crashes with 176 passengers on board
BREAKING: A Ukrainian Boeing 737 jet crashed near Iran’s Imam Khomeini Airport shortly after takeoff due to a ‘technical issue’, Iranian state-run news outlet ISNA reported.
“The cause of the Ukraine International Airlines 737 crash is not clear yet”, Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority said later in a statement.
The plane, which was carrying 167 passengers and 9 crew, was bound for Ukraine.
Footage from the scene has emerged on social media showing the Ukranian plane on fire as it goes down, and dropping a long way before it crashed.
Flightradar 24 tracking service said it was following reports of the Boeing 737 crash shortly after the take-off. The service said they saw the aircraft taking off but then it stopped sending data.
The crash comes after a series of coordinated Iranian missile attacks on US forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the elimination of arch-terrorist Qassem Soleimani.
It is unknown if there were any Americans on board at this time.
Jordan’s Al Hadath TV reported that the Ukranian aircraft was shot down accidentally by Iranian air defense systems.
First photos emerge from the site of the plane crash near Tehran. There is no indication of survivors.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had previously made veiled threats to American airliners after tweeting a reference to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people.
Rouhani tweeted that America should ‘never threaten Iran’ after warning the US should ‘remember the number 290’ in reference to an incident when the US Navy accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger jet in the Persian Gulf in July 1988, killing 290.
Some Middle East experts have taken this as a veiled reference to the Lockerbie terror attack, which saw a bomb destroy Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in December 1988 killing 270 – in revenge for the downing of the Iranian flight months earlier.