Iran says a Ukrainian plane was on fire, tried to return

TEHERAN: The crew of a Ukrainian plane that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people on board, never made a radio call for help and was trying to return to the airport when its plane on fire crashed, a report said Thursday of Iranian initial investigation. . Ukraine , meanwhile, said he considered a missile attack as one of several possible theories for the crash, despite I ran The denials

The I ran ian report suggests that a sudden emergency struck the operated by Ukrainian International Airlines early on Wednesday morning, when it crashed, just minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran .

Investigators from I ran 's Civil Aviation Organization offered no immediate explanation for the disaster, however. I ran ian officials initially blamed a technical malfunction for the crash, something initially backed by Ukrainian officials before they said they wouldn't speculate amid an ongoing investigation.

The crash came just a few hours after I ran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over it killing an I ran ian Revolutionary Guard general in a drone strike last week.

The Ukrainian International Airlines took off at 6:12 a.m. Wednesday, after nearly an hour's delay at Tehran 's Imam Khomeini Airport, the main airport for travelers in I ran . It gained altitude heading west, reaching nearly 8,000 feet, according to both the report and flight-tracking data.

Then something went wrong, although `` no radio messages were received from the pilot regarding unusual situations, '' the report said. In emergencies, pilots usually contact air traffic controllers immediately.

Eyewitnesses, including the crew of another flight passing over it, described seeing the plane engulfed in flames before crashing at 6:18 a.m., according to the report.

The crash caused a massive explosion when the plane hit the ground, likely because the aircraft had been fully loaded with fuel for the flight to Kyiv, Ukraine .

The report also confirmed that the so-called `` black boxes '' containing data and communications from the cabin of the plane had been recovered, although they were damaged and some parts of their memory were lost. He also said investigators initially ruled out laser or electromagnetic interference as the cause of the accident.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine 's Security Council, told Ukrainian media that officials had several working theories regarding the crash, including a missile strike.

`` A missile attack, possibly a Tor missile system, is among the main (theories), as information has emerged on the Internet about elements of a missile that is near the site of the accident, '' Danilov said. He did not give details on where he saw the information on the Internet.

Ukrainian investigators that arrived in I ran earlier on Thursday currently await permission from I ran ian authorities to examine the crash site and look for missile fragments, Danilov said.

The Tor is a Russian-made missile system. Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1s to I ran in 2007 as part of a $700 million contract signed in December 2005. I ran has displayed the missiles in military parades as well.

I ran did not immediately respond to the Ukrainian comments. However, Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesman of the I ran ian armed forces, denied a missile hit the airplane in a comments reported Wednesday by the semiofficial Fars news agency. He dismissed the allegation as ``psychological warfare`` by foreign-based I ran ian opposition groups.

Ukraine has a grim history with missile attacks, including in July 2014 when one such strike downed a Malaysian Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine , killing all 298 people aboard.

Danilov also said that other possible causes under consideration include a drone or other flying object that crashes into the plane, a terrorist attack or a malfunction of the engine that causes an explosion. However, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The plane was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 I ran ians, at least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. The crash just before dawn scattered flaming debris and passengers' belongings across a wide stretch of farmland.

It was believed that many of the passengers were international students attending universities in Canada; They were returning to Toronto through Kyiv after visiting their family during winter break.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he planned to call I ran ian President about the crash and the investigation.

``Undoubtedly, the priority for Ukraine is to identify the causes of the plane crash,'' Zelenskiy said. ``We will surely find out the truth.''

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that 138 of the passengers were destined to Canada .. The flight also included a family of four and newlyweds, too. The manifesto listed several teenagers and children, some as young as 1 or 2.

The accident was among the worst loss of life for Canadians in an aviation disaster. The flag on Parliament in Ottawa was lowered to half the staff, and Trudeau promised to get to the bottom of the disaster.

`` Know that all Canadians are afflicted with you, '' he said, addressing the families of the victims.

Ukrainian officials, for their part, initially agreed with I ran ian suspicions that the 3{-year-old plane was brought down by mechanical trouble but later backed away from that and declined to offer a cause while the investigation is going on.

While the cause of the tragedy is unknown, the disaster could further damage Boeing's reputation, which has been struck by fury by two fatal accidents involving a different model of the Boeing plane, the 737 Max, much newer, that He has been grounded for almost 10 months. The uproar caused the firing of the company's CEO last month.

Boeing expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said he is ready to help.