An Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a passenger plane bound for Kiev, Ukraine, shortly after Tehran's takeoff this week, killing all 176 people on board, US, Canadian and UK officials said Thursday. fair, citing new information.
"This may have been unintentional," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference urging the Iranian government to ensure a "full investigation" of the crash.
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed on Wednesday morning after Iran launched missile attacks on Iraqi bases housing US and coalition forces, leading to the theory that it was hit by a missing missile, a theory which US and Canadian government officials said on Thursday was likely based on new information.
Sixty-three Canadians were among the victims of the crash, who lost contact with air traffic controllers five minutes after Tehran's takeoff on Wednesday morning, officials said.
"The news will undoubtedly be a shock to families already suffering from this indescribable tragedy," said Trudeau. "We have intelligence from various sources, including our allies and our own intelligence," which indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile.
Reports came after President Donald Trump said he did not believe mechanical failures caused the crash.
"It was flying in a rather difficult neighborhood," said Trump. "Someone could have made a mistake."
Spy satellite images suggested that Boeing's passenger airliner in Ukraine was shot down by an Iranian NBC News missile, released on Thursday.
The head of Iran's civil aviation agency dismissed the missile reports as "illogical rumors." Iranian authorities originally suggested that the Boeing 737-800 crashed due to a technical problem.
"Need for a thorough investigation"
Iran's civil aviation authority, which did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment, said on Thursday the plane departed Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport at 6:13 am local time on Wednesday and lost communication. with the air traffic controllers five minutes later.
Under international law, the country in which the crash occurs controls the investigation and, as the plane was made in the US, federal investigators and Boeing, the plane's manufacturer, would normally be involved.
Conflicting US-Iranian relations may also complicate the US government's willingness to send personnel to the country. The National Transportation Safety Board late on Thursday said it had appointed a designee for the process, but it was not immediately clear when the person or team could travel. Some European airlines canceled flights to Iran after the crash.
An Iranian official told local media on Wednesday that Iran does not plan to share the black boxes with the US, but Iran's aviation agency said it was conducting its investigation in accordance with international law and that "provided everyone relevant countries the necessary information since the accident. "
Iran can send recovered black boxes containing flight data and cabin voice recordings abroad for analysis. Iranian aviation officials said the boxes that were recovered from the crash site were damaged by fire.
Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran's aviation authority, said Iran and Ukraine could download data from black boxes, but was open to sharing information with experts from other nations.
"This new information reinforces the need for a thorough investigation into this matter," said Trudeau.
"I feel that – it's just something very terrible, something very terrible has happened, very devastating," added Trump.
Most of the passengers on the flight were from Iran and Canada. Other passengers came from countries like Sweden and Ukraine.
Newsweek noted that the images that began to circulate on Wednesday show what appeared to be fragments of a Tor M-1 missile that was found in a suburb of Tehran.
Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said: "It seems quite convincing that the plane that was shot down … by the Iranians."
Asked what the US response should be, if true, Inhofe paused and said, "I don't want to interfere with the decisions being made by the president."
"I'm sure I'll talk to him because we talk regularly about things like that."
Aircraft parts from the wreckage of a Boeing Co. 737-800 aircraft operated by Ukraine International Airlines that crashed shortly after takeoff are on the ground near Shahedshahr, Iran, on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.
Ali Mohammadi / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Said that if the Iranian missiles crashed the plane "it would be an outrage."
"What I would do if I were president would be to reach out to the Canadian people and the prime minister and try to rally the world around the idea that we should not accept another 40 years of state-sponsored terrorism," Graham said. .
Abedzadeh said in a statement eyewitnesses reported that the plane bound for Kiev was on fire immediately before the crash.
Aviation safety experts, including former government accident investigators, told CNBC that the sudden loss of communication and the lack of a distress signal were highly suspicious signals.
The crash occurred hours after Iran launched retaliatory missile attacks on US positions in Iraq for the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani. The moment sparked speculation that a lost Iranian missile could have toppled the passenger plane.
Determining the cause of plane crashes can take more than a year.
Rescuers rescue bodies from the wreckage of a Boeing Co. 737-800 aircraft operated by Ukraine International Airlines that crashed shortly after takeoff near Shahedshahr, Iran, on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.
Ali Mohammadi Bloomberg Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy promised to find out the "truth" and said investigators from Ukraine had already traveled to Iran to help with the inquiry.
The Ukrainian embassy in Iran originally said an engine problem probably caused the crash and ruled out terrorism or a rocket as possible causes. But that statement was taken from the embassy website.
The plane was the model that preceded the Boeing 737 Max, the world's grounded aircraft since mid-March after two fatal crashes. The 737-800 was delivered again to Ukrainian International Airlines in 2016 and its crew included three experienced pilots, according to the carrier.
Boeing said in a statement that it was "ready to help in any way necessary."
Boeing shares increased following news of comments by US government officials that a missile could be involved in the crash.
Boeing has been struggling to recover from the aftermath of Max's twin crashes that killed 346 people. The former CEO of Boeing was fired and the manufacturer suspended production of the top selling jets.