Ukrainian plane crashes in Iran while take-off, 170 people on-board killed

A Ukrainian plane carrying almost 170 passengers crashed on Wednesday right after take-off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all onboard. The crash is suspected to have been caused by mechanical issues, reported the state TV.

An investigation team has been sent at the site of the crash in southwestern outskirts of Tehran, said civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh.

"Right after take-off from Imam Khomeiani International Airport, it crashed between Parand and Shahriar," confirmed Jafarzadeh. "An investigation team from the national aviation department was dispatched shortly to the location after the crash news was confirmed."

All passengers on board were killed in the crash, announced Pir Hossein Kulivand, an Iranian emergency official on state TV. He said rescuers were trying to collect the dead.

Earlier the news came out to be 180 passengers and crew was set on board but the discrepancy could not have been rectified yet.

Flight data from the airport showed a Ukrainian 737-800 flown by Ukraine International Airlines took off Wednesday morning and it immediately stopped sending information, according to website FlightRadar24. The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lately, a photo was published by IRNA news agency run by Iran state showing rescue operation team in farm fields collecting what appeared to be pieces of the aircraft laying nearby.

Chicago-based Boeing Co was "aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information," spokesman Michael Friedman told The Associated Press. The Boeing 737-800 is a very common single-aisle, twin-engine jetliner used for short to medium-range flights. Thousands of the planes are used by airlines around the world.

Introduced in the late 1990s, it is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for nearly 10 months following two deadly crashes. A number of 737-800 aircraft have been involved in deadly accidents over the years.

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In March 2016, a FlyDubai 737-800 from Dubai crashed while trying to land at Rostov-on-Don airport in Russia, killing 62 onboard. Another 737-800 flight from Dubai, operated by Air India Express, crashed in May 2010 while trying to land in Mangalore, India, killing more than 150 onboard.

The crash came hours lately Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces in retaliation for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Boeing, like other airline manufacturers, typically assists in crash investigations. However, that effort in this case could be affected by the U.S. sanctions campaign in place on Iran since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018.

Both Airbus and Boeing had been in line to sell billions of dollars of aircraft to Iran over the deal, which saw Tehran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. But Trump’s decision halted the sales.

Under decades of international sanctions, Iran’s commercial passenger aircraft fleet has aged, with air accidents occurring regularly for domestic carriers in recent years, resulting in hundreds of casualties.


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