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176 passengers killed in Ukrainian plane crash in Iran

by Oregon State Media Wednesday January 8, 2020    10:39 PM

Everyone on board a Ukrainian aircraft carrying 176 passengers and crew that crashed close to Iran's capital, Tehran, has died, Iranian state television has reported. The plane had taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport, the report said. It went down in farmland outside of the city. Authorities initially blamed a mechanical problem for the crash, which came just hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq housing US forces. State TV said the missile attack was launched in retaliation for the killing of Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani last week.

It is unclear whether the incident is linked to the Iran-US confrontation. Rescue teams have been sent to the area, near the airport, where the aircraft crashed. The head of Iran's Red Crescent told state media that it was "impossible' for anyone to have survived the crash. A government official, Pir Hossein Kulivand, said rescuers were trying to collect the dead.

An investigation team was at the site, civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said. Flight data from the airport showed a 737-800 flown by Ukraine International Airlines took off on Wednesday morning, then stopped sending data almost immediately afterwards, according to website FlightRadar24. The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Photo: People stand near the wreckage of the Ukrainian plane which crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran, Iran this morning (Picture: AFP)
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