Ukrainian passenger plane crashes near Tehran, killing 180 on board

Last Modified Wednesday, 8 January 2020 (12:14 IST)
A Ukrainian Boeing 737 has crashed shortly after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport, all passengers and crew on board. Iranian media reported the crash was due to technical issues.
A International Airlines flight crashed on Wednesday shortly after take-off from Imam Khomeini airport, Tehran's main international airport, killing all 180 on board, Iran's state television has said. 
 
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry confirmed there were no survivors.
 
Iranian news agency Fars reported that the Boeing 737-800 crash was suspected to have been caused by technical issues, as did Iran's official news agency IRNA. The majority of the passengers were Iranian nationals, Russia's RIA Novosti agency reported, citing Iranian authorities. 
 
Iran's civil aviation spokesperson Reza Jafarzadeh said that an investigation team was present at the site of the crash close to the airport in the southwestern peripheries of Tehran, the Associated Press reported. 
 
"After taking off from Imam Khomeini international airport it crashed between Parand and Shahriar," Jafarzadeh said. "An investigation team from the national aviation department was dispatched to the location after the news was announced.''
 
According to air tracking service FlightRadar24, flight data from Imam Khomeini International Airport showed that a Ukrainian 737-800 flown by Ukraine International Airlines took off Wednesday morning, then stopped sending data almost immediately afterward. 
 
The Boeing plane had left bound for Boryspil airport, Kyiv, Iran's Isna news agency said, adding that 10 ambulances were sent to the crash site.
 
A Boeing Co. spokesperson told the Associated Press the company was "aware of the media reports out of and we are gathering more information."
 
The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq hosting US forces in retaliation for the killing of General Qassem Soleimani. 
 
Boeing safety record in spotlight
 
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft have been involved in a number of fatal 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. Sixty-two people aboard lost their lives.
 
The Boeing 737-800 is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for almost 10 months following two crashes, one in Ethiopia and the other in Indonesia.
 
FlightRadar24 said the Ukrainian flight on Wednesday was not operated by a Boeing 737 MAX.
 
Iran has suffered a series of fatal air accidents in recent years. Decades of international sanctions imposed on the country has taken a toll on its commercial passenger aircraft fleet.
 
This is a breaking news story. We are updating this article as information comes in.
 
mvb/se (dpa, Reuters, AFP, AP)