Ukrainian Plane May Have Been Hit with Iranian Missile Before Crash, Officials Say
The crash killed all 176 people on board. It happened hours after Iran fired multiple missiles toward U.S. military sites in Iraq.
A Ukrainian passenger jet coming from Tehran and carrying 176 people crashed in Iran on Wednesday, killing everyone on board — and intelligence officials believe it may have been shot down by an Iranian missile.
The Ukraine International Airlines flight, headed the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, crashed after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport. The plane had reached about 8,000 feet before abruptly losing contact with ground control.
The crash occurred several hours after Iran fired multiple missiles toward U.S. military sites in Iraq, in retaliation for the recent American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a news conference Thursday that Canadian intelligence officials believe the plane was hit by an Iranian missile. At least 68 victims in the crash were Canadian citizens, according to Ukraine's foreign minister.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” Trudeau said. "This may well have been unintentional."
It's unclear if the strike is related to the earlier Iranian missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq.
The Boeing 737-800 airliner took off at 6:12 am, but began to experience complications just two minutes into the flight, according to flight trackers. The Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transport communications chief Qassem Biniaz told the Islamic Republic News Agency that the plane suffered an engine fire due to a technical problem. Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran initially echoed Iran’s sentiment that the engine caught fire in a statement, but later deleted it.
“We have to work all possible versions. Regardless of the conclusions regarding the reasons for the disaster in Iran,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Facebook about the incident.