190108 iran plane
People walk near the wreckage after a Ukrainian plane crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran Image Credit: AFP


  • Latest number of people killed in the crash: 175 (as per Iranian Aviation Authority)
  • The plane had taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital
  • A fire struck one of its engines, said Qassem Biniaz, a spokesman for Iran's Road and Transportation authority
  • The pilot of the aircraft then lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground, Biniaz said, according to state-run IRNA news agency
  • The crash was the result of an engine failure, not terrorism: Ukrainian embassy in Iran
  • Ukraine International Airlines suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely: statement.
  • AP journalists who reached the crash site saw a wide field of field of debris scattered across farmland

Update: 9.08pm, January 8

The United States on Wednesday urged "complete cooperation" with a probe into a Ukrainian flight's crash in Iran, which has rejected giving the Boeing plane's black boxes to arch-rival Washington.

"The United States calls for complete cooperation with any investigation into the cause of the crash," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, without naming Iran directly.

8.12pm, January 8

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that Ottawa would work to ensure a thorough investigation of a Ukrainian jetliner crash in Iran that killed dozens of Canadians.

"This morning, I join Canadians across the country who are shocked and saddened to see reports that a plane crash outside of Tehran, Iran, has claimed the lives of 176 people, including 63 Canadians," Trudeau said in a statement.

"Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that this crash is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians' questions are answered," he said.

A newlywed couple that had traveled to Iran to get married were among the 63 Canadians killed when their Ukrainian Airlines flight crashed early Wednesday, according to a community leader in the western Canadian city where 30 victims came from.

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 were killed when the plane crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran. It had been heading for the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Arash Pourzarabi, 26,and Pouneh Gourji, 25, were graduate students in computer science at the University of Alberta and had gone to Iran for their wedding, said Reza Akbari, president of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton.

They were on the plane along with four members of their wedding party and another 24 Iranian-Canadians from Edmonton, Akbari said.

"Oh god, I can't believe this," Akbari told Reuters. "It's shocking to the whole community." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that the government will reach out to international partners to ensure the crash is thoroughly investigated "and that Canadians' questions are answered." The flight was a popular transit route for Canadians traveling to Iran, in the absence of direct flights, and carried many students and academics heading home from the holidays.

Canada broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012.

"I've had family take the Tehran to Toronto route via Kiev in the past year. It's been a new affordable route for many Iranian-Canadians who don't have direct flights from Canada," Mahsa Alimardani, a student at Britain's Oxford University, said on Twitter.

Among the victims was Mojgan Daneshmand, a professor in electrical engineering "a brilliant, brilliant lady, very smart," the Heritage Society's Akbari said.

Other victims included Pedram Mousavi and Mojgan Daneshmand, both professors at the University of Alberta, according to the university's website. The university declined immediate comment.

"Our hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians. I have been in touch with the government of Ukraine," Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Twitter.

6.22pm, January 8

Canada's foreign minister said Wednesday he's been in touch with the government of Ukraine upon learning that 63 Canadians died in a Ukrainian passenger jet, just minutes after taking off from Iran's capital.

Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne called it tragic news and said Wednesday Canada's "hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians." He vowed to keep Canadians informed as the situation evolves.

The crash of the Ukraine International Airlines plane came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers, but Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the 3=-year-old Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Ukrainian officials initially agreed, but later backed away and declined to offer a cause while the investigation is ongoing.

The plane carried 167 passengers and nine crew members from different nations. Ukraine's foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, said that there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians on board _ the Ukrainian nationals included two passengers and the nine crew. There were also 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals, he said.

"My heart is broken. We will have to go through this terrible pain together with our Canadian brothers and sisters," tweeted Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine's ambassador to Canada.

It's one of the worst loss of life for Canadians in a aviation disaster. In 1985 a bomb exploded and killed 329 people aboard an Air India flight. Air India Flight 182 from Montreal to New Delhi exploded over the Atlantic Ocean near Great Britain on June 23, 1985. Most of the victims were Canadian.

Canada closed its embassy in Iran in 2012 and suspended diplomatic relations.

Canada is urging Canadians to avoid non-essential travel to Iran due to the volatile security situation, but the travel advisory makes no mention of the plane crash.

2.50pm, January 8

  • Ukraine's embassy in Iran said any previous comments about the cause of the crash were not official
  • The embassy issued a new statement on the plane crash, omitting the mention of engine failure as the cause
  • Ukraine International Airlines said that the Boeing 737-800 involved in a fatal crash in Iran was one of the best planes in its fleet and that its pilots were very experienced.
  • Airline officials said that it had last been routinely serviced on January 6.

Dubai: A Boeing 737 jet crashed in Iran shortly after take off, killing everyone on board, Iranian state-run news outlet ISNA reported.

The passenger plane, identified as Ukrainian, took off from Tehran and was bound for Kiev, Ukraine's capital.

b737 8kv
Image Credit: Twitter / Flightradar24

Everyone on board died in the crash, according to the Iranian state media. The dead lay among shattered pieces of the aircraft. 

Earlier reports stated there were 180 people on board. The number was later revised to 170, before the final figure of 176 dead was given, based on the latest body count given by Iranian authorities.

Iran says won't give Americans crashed plane's black boxes

Iran's aviation authority said it would not hand over to Americans the recovered black boxes of a Boeing 737 that crashed Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers and crew.

"We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans," Iran Civil Aviation Organisation head Ali Abedzadeh said, quoted by Mehr news agency.

"It's not yet clear which country the black box will go to for the investigation," he added.

Following the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday, Iran said it had recovered the Boeing 737's two black boxes.

Abedzadeh said that based on global aviation rules, it was the right of the country where air crashes occur to carry out the investigation.

"This accident will be investigated by Iran's aviation organisation but the Ukrainians can also be present during the incident's investigation," he added.

Under the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization, of which Iran, Ukraine and the United States are all members, air crash investigations are led by the country where the accident occurred.

However, according to aviation experts, the countries that are capable of analysing black boxes are few - notably Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

France's Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA), which handles air crash investigations, said it had not received any request for help from the Iranian authorities after Wednesday's crash.

Iran finds black boxes

Iranian search and rescue teams have found the black boxes Iranian civil aviation authority said.

"The two black boxes of the Ukranian 737 aeroplane that crashed this morning have been found," said the authority's spokesman, Reza Jafarzadeh, according to semi-official news agency ISNA.

According to the spokesman Iran will not give the black box of the crashed Ukrainian airliner to planemaker Boeing. It was not clear which country Iran would send the box to so that its data could be analysed, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

175 crash victims

As of 12.05pm (Dubai time ), following is the breakdown of the latest body count of 175, according to the Iranian aviation authorities:

  • 70 men
  • 81 women
  • 15 childen
  • 9 crew

Victims by nationality

At 12.55 UAE time, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko has stated the that there were more than 170 people on board the ill-fated Flight PS752. There are the breakdown of victims by nationality: 

  • 82 Iranians
  • 63 Canadians
  • 11 Ukrainians, including all the crew
  • 10 Swedes
  • Four Afghans
  • Three Germans

Cause: Engine failure

Ukraine's embassy in Tehran said engine failure caused the crash and there was no link to terrorism.

The jet went down near Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, according to local media.

What we know so far:

  • Ukraine International Flight 752
  • All on board the plane heading for Kiev died according to state media.
  • Was taking off from Tehran
  • Crashed minutes after take-off
  • The crash was the result of an engine failure, not terrorism: Ukrainian embassy in Iran
  • The aircraft was a Boeing 737-8KV
  • Caused by 'technical issues', Iranian media reported

Crash site

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

“After taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport, it crashed between Parand and Shahriar,” Jafarzadeh said.

“An investigation team from the national aviation department was dispatched to the location after the news was announced.”

Pir Hossein Kulivand, an Iranian emergency official, later told state TV all those on board were killed in the crash. He said rescuers were trying to collect the dead.

Crash 000303
A screengrab of a video shared on social media purportedly showing Ukraine International Flight 752, with people 180 on board, which crashed in Iran shortly after take-off following what was reported as 'technical issue'. Image Credit: Twitter

Flight data from the airport showed a Ukrainian 737-800 flown by Ukraine International Airlines took off Wednesday morning, then stopped sending data almost immediately afterward, according to website FlightRadar24.

A photo later published by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency showed rescue officials in a farm field, with what appeared to be pieces of the aircraft laying nearby.

The crash came hours after 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.

Deadly accidents

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.

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.

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.

Boeing, like other airline manufacturers, typically assists in crash investigations.

However, that effort in this case could be affected by the US 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.

-Input from agencies