A Ukrainian passenger plane bound for Kiev appeared to already be in flames before it fell from the sky and into a farm field outside of Tehran on Wednesday, sparking speculation it was shot down before killing all 170 passengers on board.
Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 crashed near just three minutes after takeoff from Tehran and Ali Kashani, a spokesman for Imam Khomeini International Airport, told Fars news agency: ‘It is predicted that technical problems caused the accident.’
However, flight data shows the three-year-old Boeing 737-800 for Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 reached an altitude of 2.4 km and then suddenly disappeared.
The plane ‘crashed around Parand’, about 60 kilometres south-west of the Iranian city and all on board dead according to state media.
Unverified video footage tweeted by the BBC’s Iran correspondent, Ali Hashem, appeared to show the plane burning in the sky before crashing in a huge explosion.
The Boeing 737-800 is a very common single-aisle, twin-engine jetliner used for short to medium-range flights. Thousands of the planes are used by airlines around the world.
Introduced in the late 1990s, it is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for nearly 10 months following two deadly crashes.
A number of 737-800 aircraft have been involved in deadly 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, killing 62 onboard. Another 737-800 flight from Dubai, operated by Air India Express, crashed in May 2010 while trying to land in Mangalore, India, killing more than 150 onboard.