Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-8KV plane is shot down
The Boeing 737-800, operated by UIA Ukraine International Airlines, took off from Tehran, Iran, for a passenger flight to Kiev, Ukraine. 167 passengers and 9 crewmembers were onboard. The plane crashed minutes after takeoff. Radar contact was lost with the aircraft while it was climbing through 8000 feet, about 12NM (22 km) northwest of the Tehran airport. The crash site has been rapidly located: the Boeing 737 has been completely destroyed. All the 176 people onboard have been killed. It has been confirmed on January 11th that the plane has been shot down by a missile.
According to the Iran's Accident Investigation Board, the Boeing 737 disappeared from radar screens 6 minutes after takeoff, while the aircraft was at 8000 ft. No radio message was received from the aircraft afterwards. Before radar contact was lost, the plane made a right turn as if turning back to the airport, but impacted ground shortly afterwards. The Boeing 737 exploded as a result of the impact with the ground.
Witnesses on the ground as well as flight crews of another aircraft flying at a higher altitude observing the plane reported the aircraft was on fire.
Iran admitted on January 11th that it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. The Iran armed forces said it targeted the passenger plane unintentionally. It attributed the crash human error caused by radar activity and fear of US action. Hours earlier, Iran had fired missiles on several US bases in Iraq in response to an attack by US drone. Iran armed forces confused the Ukrainian Boeing 737 with a threat (plane, drone or missile). The plane was downed by two Russian-made SA-15 surface-to-air missiles.
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According to the passenger manifest, the Boeing 737 carried 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians (including 9 crew), 10 Swedish citizens, 4 Afghanistan citizens, 3 Germans and 3 British citizens (176 occupants).
Since year 2000, 7 commercial or transport planes have been voluntary or mistakenly shot by missiles. Watch here the list of those airplanes shot by missiles since year 2000.
This accident is the 10th worst plane crash since year 2000 in terms of the number of combined onboard and ground fatalities.