A Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukraine International Airlines has crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport in Iran. Local media in Iran have reported as many as 180 passengers and crew onboard the aircraft with no hope of any survivors.
In a statement, Ukraine International Airlines said 167 passengers and 9 crew members were onboard the plane but that representatives were still clarifying the exact number. “The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims,” a spokesperson for the airline said.
“With immediate effect, UIA has decided to suspend its flights to Tehran until further notice.”
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 took off from Tehran’s main airport at approximately 5.15am this morning bound for Kyiv for what should have been a near four-hour flight to the Ukrainian capital. Flight tracking website flightradar24 shows that the aircraft crashed within minutes of takeoff, with the signal being lost within six minutes of first being transmitted.
The aircraft crash in Parand, a city in Robat Karim County close to Imam Khomeini airport and reportedly caught fire. Officials say the fire has now been extinguished.
Iran’s Press TV has reported all 169 people on board the aircraft have been killed. Ali Khashani, a senior public relations official at the airport was quoted as saying that 160 passengers and nine crew members had died in the crash. Some news outlets, however, have claimed that as many as 180 people have been killed, with some agencies quoting 170 passengers and 10 crew members onboard the aircraft.
The aircraft that crashed was a three and a half-year-old Boeing 737-800 that was delivered new to Ukraine International Airlines in 2016. The Boeing 737 aircraft (registration: UR-PSR) is not the same model as the 737MAX that was involved in two fatal plane crashes that killed a total of 346 passengers and crew and led to the worldwide grounding of the model.
Video has emerged of what is claimed to be the aircraft moments before crashing. Although the images are blurry, the aircraft is clearly on fire as it plummets towards the ground. The night sky is then lit up orange as the aircraft bursts into flames. The images have not yet been independently verified.
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) January 8, 2020
Another video apparently shot a short time after the crash shows multiple fires across the accident site. Again, this video has not yet been independently verified.
— Миронов Андрей (@o0No516beWfAjwB) January 8, 2020
A spokesperson for Iran’s civil aviation authority said the majority of the passengers were Iranian. An official at Iran’s transport authority said the plane’s engine had caught fire shortly after takeoff.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a short statement that preliminary information available from the crash site suggested that all passengers and crew had been killed. “Our embassy is working to clarify information on the circumstances of the tragedy and the list of deceased passengers,” he said in a statement.
“My sincere condolences to families and loved ones of all passengers and crew members.”