Graphic Footage Appears To Show Passenger Plane Hit By Rocket In Iran
Footage has emerged appearing to show the moment a Ukrainian passenger jet was hit in Iran before it crashed, killing all 176 people on board.
Video verified by The New York Times appears to show a missile hitting a plane above Parand, near Tehran's main international airport, the same area where the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), crashed early on Wednesday (local time).
It comes as American and allied officials -- including Scott Morrison -- said evidence indicated the passenger jet was unintentionally shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.
Ukraine Plane 'Brought Down By Iran', Trudeau Calls For 'Credible' Investigation
U.S and Canadian officials said it is highly likely Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board, as Canadian PM Justin Trudeau called for a 'credible' investigation into the crash.
In the video, a small explosion can be seen as a missile appears to hit the plane, but the plane does not explode.
A loud explosion can be heard about ten seconds later.
The Times has reportedly verified other videos that appear to show the plane flying back toward the airport before it crashed and exploded.
The airliner took off at 6:12am on Wednesday from Imam Khomeini Airport and was bound for the Ukrainian city of Kiev where 138 of the 176 on board, including Canadians, Iranians and Ukrainians, were expected to take a connecting flight to Canada.
A preliminary Iranian investigative report, released on Thursday, suggests a sudden emergency struck the Boeing 737 minutes after takeoff. No radio messages were received from the pilot regarding unusual situations, the report said.
Eyewitnesses, including the crew of another flight passing above, described seeing the plane engulfed in flames before crashing at 6.18 am. At least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians were among the dead.
The crash caused a massive explosion when the plane hit the ground, likely because it had been fully loaded with fuel for the flight to Kiev.
Earlier on Thursday (local time), U.S. and Canadian officials claimed it is "highly likely" an Iranian missile downed the plane, but it could well have been a mistake amid international airstrikes and high tensions throughout the region.
The crash came just hours after Iran launched a ballistic attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops, amid a confrontation with Washington over an earlier U.S. strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general.
Four U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday they had no certain knowledge of Iranian intent and the airliner could have been mistaken for a threat.
Citing intelligence from Canada and its allies, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the airliner was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.
"This may well have been unintentional," he said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said his government has similar intelligence as the nation's partners, describing the crash as a "terrible accident".
"This is not a deliberate attack," he told 2GB radio, adding he has spoken to the Canadian PM and also plans to speak with his Ukrainian counterpart.
"An inquiry into that (crash) is really important -- particularly for the families of those that have lost so many people in what is a terrible tragedy," he said.
President Donald Trump has also suggested he believed Iran was responsible for the crash but wouldn't directly blame the Iranians.
He dismissed Iran's initial claim it was a mechanical issue.
"Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side," Trump said on Thursday, noting the plane was flying in a "pretty rough neighborhood".
"Some people say it was mechanical," he said. "I personally don't think that's even a question."
The U.S. officials wouldn't say what intelligence they had that pointed to an Iranian missile.
But they acknowledged the existence of satellites and other sensors in the region, as well as the likelihood of communication interceptions and other similar intelligence.