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Report: Ukrainian plane changed directions before it crashed in Iran, killing 176 people

Report: Ukrainian plane changed directions before it crashed in Iran, killing 176 people
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Report: Ukrainian plane changed directions before it crashed in Iran, killing 176 people
A Ukrainian jetliner that crashed shortly after takeoff in Iran was on fire before it plunged to the ground, an initial report said Thursday.The Iranian Civil Aviation authority released the report, citing witnesses. It said the plane also changed directions after a problem and turned back toward the airport.The Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran early Wednesday, killing all 176 people aboard.At first, Iranian state media blamed technical issues on the crash while Ukraine ruled out rocket attacks. But officials in both countries have since walked back their statements and declined to speculate on the cause.Given the level of the crew's experience, it's unlikely the crash was the result of error, Ukraine International Airlines said.Tehran's airport is complicated and the pilots required several years of training to use it, said Yevhenii Dykhne, president of Ukraine International Airlines. The captain had 11,600 hours of flying on a Boeing 737 aircraft while the pilot had 12,000 hours on the aircraft.The crash came hours after Iran fired missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the killing of its general, leading to speculation over the timing of the incident. Images of the wreckage show charred parts of the plane strewn over a field. Witnesses have described seeing a fireball in the sky before the plane crashed.The Boeing 737 jet was operated by Ukraine International Airlines, and took off early Wednesday headed to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members.The victims included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko tweeted.The investigation is off to a complicated, politically-tense start.Hostilities between Tehran and the United States have escalated after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing American troops. The missiles were in retaliation for a U.S. strike that killed Iran's top commander, Qasem Soleimani, on Iraqi soil last week.While it's unclear whether the incidents are related to the plane crash, tensions between the two adversaries are spilling over to the investigation.Searchers have found the plane's black boxes -- a cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder -- which could offer crucial evidence about what happened to the plane leading up to the crash, the Tehran prosecutor told Iranian state media.But Iranian officials don't plan to share information from the black boxes with the plane's manufacturer, U.S. company Boeing, as is usual in crash investigations."We will not give the black box to the manufacturer or America," Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran's Civil Aviation Authority, told the Mehr news agency.The U.S. will not be involved at any stage of the investigation, he said.Under international rules, Iran is responsible for the investigation, but Ukraine should participate in the probe as the state of registry and state of operator. So should the U.S. as the state of design and manufacture of the Boeing aircraft.The Boeing 737-800 jet had been in service for about three and a half years, FlightRadar 24 data shows. It suggests the crash happened within minutes after takeoff.It climbed to an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet before the aircraft's data suddenly disappeared, according to FlightRadar 24.That is "very unusual" and suggests a "catastrophic" incident, as opposed to engine failure, said former FAA chief of staff Michael Goldfarb.An airliner should be able to keep flying even if one engine fails, which means pilots normally have time to communicate and recover the aircraft.The Boeing 737-800 is a predecessor to the company's 737 Max, which has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.

A Ukrainian jetliner that crashed shortly after takeoff in Iran was on fire before it plunged to the ground, an initial report said Thursday.

The Iranian Civil Aviation authority released the report, citing witnesses. It said the plane also changed directions after a problem and turned back toward the airport.

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The Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran early Wednesday, killing all 176 people aboard.

At first, Iranian state media blamed technical issues on the crash while Ukraine ruled out rocket attacks. But officials in both countries have since walked back their statements and declined to speculate on the cause.

Given the level of the crew's experience, it's unlikely the crash was the result of error, Ukraine International Airlines said.

Tehran's airport is complicated and the pilots required several years of training to use it, said Yevhenii Dykhne, president of Ukraine International Airlines. The captain had 11,600 hours of flying on a Boeing 737 aircraft while the pilot had 12,000 hours on the aircraft.

The crash came hours after Iran fired missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the killing of its general, leading to speculation over the timing of the incident.

Images of the wreckage show charred parts of the plane strewn over a field. Witnesses have described seeing a fireball in the sky before the plane crashed.

The Boeing 737 jet was operated by Ukraine International Airlines, and took off early Wednesday headed to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members.

The victims included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko tweeted.

The investigation is off to a complicated, politically-tense start.

Hostilities between Tehran and the United States have escalated after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing American troops. The missiles were in retaliation for a U.S. strike that killed Iran's top commander, Qasem Soleimani, on Iraqi soil last week.

While it's unclear whether the incidents are related to the plane crash, tensions between the two adversaries are spilling over to the investigation.

Searchers have found the plane's black boxes -- a cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder -- which could offer crucial evidence about what happened to the plane leading up to the crash, the Tehran prosecutor told Iranian state media.

But Iranian officials don't plan to share information from the black boxes with the plane's manufacturer, U.S. company Boeing, as is usual in crash investigations.

"We will not give the black box to the manufacturer or America," Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran's Civil Aviation Authority, told the Mehr news agency.

The U.S. will not be involved at any stage of the investigation, he said.

Under international rules, Iran is responsible for the investigation, but Ukraine should participate in the probe as the state of registry and state of operator. So should the U.S. as the state of design and manufacture of the Boeing aircraft.

The Boeing 737-800 jet had been in service for about three and a half years, FlightRadar 24 data shows. It suggests the crash happened within minutes after takeoff.

It climbed to an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet before the aircraft's data suddenly disappeared, according to FlightRadar 24.

That is "very unusual" and suggests a "catastrophic" incident, as opposed to engine failure, said former FAA chief of staff Michael Goldfarb.

An airliner should be able to keep flying even if one engine fails, which means pilots normally have time to communicate and recover the aircraft.

The Boeing 737-800 is a predecessor to the company's 737 Max, which has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.