Investigators want to search the site of Wednesday’s crash southwest of Teheran for possible debris of a Russian-made missile used by Iran’s military. The Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800, flying to Kiev and carrying mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians, crashed shortly after take off from Teheran’s Imam Khomeini airport, killing all 176 on board.
The Iranian report cited witnesses on the ground seeing the aircraft flying at high altitude and on fire. It said the three-year-old airliner, which had its last scheduled maintenance on 2 days before the crash, encountered a technical problem shortly after take-off and started to head toward a nearby airport before it crashed. The report said there was no radio communication from the pilot. The aircraft disappeared from radar at 8,000 feet (2,440 m).
The crash happened hours after Iran launched missile attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq, leading some to speculate that the plane may have been hit. The initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction and had not been brought down by a missile, five security sources — three Americans, one European and a Canadian — told Reuters.
Source: Reuters/ Image Reuters