'No Survivors' After Ukraine International Airlines Plane Crashes In Iran
A Ukrainian passenger jet carrying 176 people has crashed near Tehran, killing all on board.
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft, operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport early on Wednesday (local time).
A spokesman for Iran’s Road and Transportation Ministry, Qassem Biniaz, said the plane's engine caught fire. The Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran had earlier ruled out terrorism as a cause.
An investigation team is at the site of the crash in southwestern outskirts of Tehran.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadim Prystaiko said after Wednesday's crash that there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians on board. The Ukrainian nationals included two passengers and nine crew members.
He says there were also 10 Swedish nationals, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals. Airline officials said most of the passengers were transiting through Kyiv to other destinations.
“After taking off from Imam Khomeini international airport it crashed between Parand and Shahriar,” civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said.
In a statement, Honcharuk said 167 passengers and 9 crew had been registered to fly and added that a Ukrainian consular official was at the crash site.
Flight tracker websites show the plane was scheduled to take off at 5.15am local time on Wednesday (12.45pm AEDT) but was delayed and took off at 6.15am (1.45pm AEDT).
It disappeared from radars minutes later.
Iranian news agency ISNA reports all 176 people on board the flight were killed on impact.
The crash came hours after news of Iran's strike against American military targets.
America's Federal Aviation Administration quickly ordered U.S. planes not to fly over Iranian airspace in the wake of the missile strike, with airlines from Singapore and China following suit in diverting planes from their countries.
Australian airline Qantas said it has changed flight paths over the Middle East "to avoid the airspace over Iraq and Iran until further notice."
The Boeing 737-800 is a very common single-aisle, twin-engine jetliner used for short to medium-range flights. Thousands of the planes are used by airlines around the world.
Introduced in the late 1990s, it is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for nearly 10 months following two deadly crashes.
A number of 737-800 aircraft have been involved in deadly accidents over the years.
In March 2016, a Flydubai 737-800 from Dubai crashed while trying to land at Rostov-on-Don airport in Russia, killing 62 on board.
Another 737-800 flight from Dubai, operated by Air India Express, crashed in May 2010 while trying to land in Mangalore, India, killing more than 150 onboard.
Chicago-based Boeing Co. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Boeing, like other airline manufacturers, typically assists in crash investigations.
However, that effort, in this case, could be affected by the U.S. sanctions campaign in place on Iran since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018.