Ukrainian Boeing 737 Crashes in Iran

Iran has been in special focus since the beginning of 2020. First, because of the American-Iranian escalating confrontation and second for a tragic plane crash.

The Boeing 737 jet in question took off early Wednesday morning from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, but was never to reach its destination in Kyiv, Ukraine, crashing after just five minutes in the air and claiming the lives of all 176 (180 according to some reports) on board. Most of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash in Tehran were citizens of Iran (82) and Canada (63). Those killed in the crash also include ten Swedes, four citizens of Afghanistan, three Germans, and three Brits.

“Emergency crews were dispatched to the crash site but could not assist because the area was ablaze,” said Pirhossein Koulivand, Head of Iran's Emergency Medical Services. Koulivand told state-run media outlet IRINN that the crash site is between the cities of Parand and Shahriar.

The Iranian side, the first to report the plane crash, blamed mechanical issues for the crash. While the Ukrainian officials at first agreed, later they claimed that it was too soon to determine the cause of the tragedy. The Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran has ruled out a terrorist attack for now, leaving it for the investigation to figure out the exact cause for the crash.

“According to preliminary information, the plane crashed due to an engine malfunction. A terrorist attack or rocket attack is currently excluded,” read the statement on the embassy’s website.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook post that the country's embassy in Iran was “working to clarify information on the circumstances of the tragedy and the list of deceased passengers.”

“My sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all passengers and crew members,” Zelensky said.

Georgian officials joined the rest of the world leaders in expressing their sorrow over the tragedy.

The President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili went to Twitter to express condolences over the crash.

“No words can relate to the crash of the Boeing of Ukrainian International Airlines, an unspeakable disaster. I send my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” she tweeted.

The Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia’s tweet followed: “My heartfelt condolences to the families of the tragically deceased aboard the Ukrainian airliner in Tehran,” the PM wrote on his Twitter.

Ukraine International Airlines then announced that the 2016 Boeing 737 had a perfectly working engine, having passed its last technical check on January 6, 2020.

“This was one of our best airplanes, it had a professional and wonderful staff,” said Evgeny Dykhne, the President of the airline at a press conference held in Kyiv on Thursday.

Vice-President of the company Igor Sosnivky further noted that they are almost ruling out a mistake from the crew- two pilots, one instructor and six flight attendants.

The airline’s statement left more room for speculation and the Ukrainian President spoke up once more, warning society against it: “I ask everyone to keep from speculating and putting forth unconfirmed theories about the crash,” he wrote on Facebook, as he cut short a holiday in Oman and flew back to Ukraine.

“This is not a topic for hype, likes in social networks, sensations and conspiracy theories. We need patience, endurance, and wisdom,” Zelensky said.

President Zelensky released a video in which he talks about the plane crash, calling January 8 a ‘black page’ in history. He reported that Ukrainian specialists are already in Iran, ready to help investigate what went wrong and noted his hope that Iran will let the Ukrainian experts participate in deciphering the ‘black box’ of the plane.

Canada has also expressed a desire to actively participate in the investigation process of the crash, even though the country has no diplomatic relations with Tehran. Canada’s participation seems only reasonable – the Boeing 737 had 63 Canadian citizens on board.

President Zelensky declared January 9 a day of mourning in Ukraine, honoring the over 170 lives lost during the crash, 11 of which were citizens of Ukraine. On Thursday, people in Kyiv’s airport who were supposed to greet their loved ones, mourned their tragic deaths instead. The ongoing investigation has yet to give them and the rest of the world the answers as to why it happened.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

Image source: CNN

09 January 2020 17:50