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.
Citing intelligence from Canada and its allies, Trudeau said the evidence indicates the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800 bound for Kiev was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.
"This may well have been unintentional," he said.
"This new information reinforces the need for a thorough investigation into this matter."
There were 63 Canadians on board the plane when it crashed shortly after takeoff early on Wednesday (local time).
All 176 passengers and crew were killed, including 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedish nationals, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons.
"What happened yesterday was a tragedy. A tragedy that shocked not only Canada but the entire world," Trudeau said.
U.S officials have also said it was "highly likely" the plane was shot down by Iran.
One official said satellite data showed the plane was airborne for two minutes after departing Tehran when the heat signatures of two surface-to-air missiles were detected.
That was quickly followed by an explosion in the vicinity of the plane, the official said. Heat signature data then showed the plane on fire as it went down.
Iran's head of civil aviation was quoted by ISNA News Agency as saying that it was "impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane".
Two U.S. officials said Washington believed the downing of the plane, which occurred at a time of rising tensions between Iran and the United States, was accidental.
Iranian officials have said the plane crashed due to mechanical issues. Initially, the Ukrainian embassy agreed, but officials have since retracted their statement as the investigation continues.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said the deadly crash could have been a mistake and he did not believe it was a mechanical issue.
"Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side," Trump said, noting the plane was flying in a "pretty rough neighbourhood".
"Some people say it was mechanical," he said.
"I personally don't think that's even a question."'
Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment on Thursday, as did the Pentagon.
Boeing is still reeling from two deadly crashes of 737 MAX planes in five months that led to the plane's grounding in March 2019.