In first fatal incident for Ukraine airline, plane crashes in Iran

Amid escalating tensions in West Asia, the world on Wednesday woke up to learn of a most unfortunate disaster. A Ukraine International flight from Tehran to Kiev crashed minutes after take-off, cutting short the lives of all souls on board.

Families of the victims have to bear the cost of the crash, with a memorial being set up inside the Boryspil International Airport on the outskirts of Kiev.

Flight PS-752

Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 flight PS-752 crash outside the Iranian capital Tehran, on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

(Photograph:AFP)

176 souls on board

The Ukrainian airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran Wednesday killing all 176 people on board, in a disaster striking a region rattled by heightened military tensions.

(Photograph:AFP)

Sincere condolences

"My sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of all passengers and crew," Zelenskiy said in a statement, adding that Ukraine was seeking to establish the circumstances of the crash and the death toll.

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Number of non-Ukrainians

The vast majority of the passengers on the Ukraine International Airlines flight were non-Ukrainians, including 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians, officials said.

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Potential scenarios

Ukraine outlined four potential scenarios on Thursday to explain the deadly crash of one of its airliners in Iran, including a missile strike and terrorism, as Iranian investigators said the plane was on fire before it fell to the ground.

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Initial reports

Kiev said its investigators wanted to search the site of Wednesday's crash southwest of Tehran for possible debris of a Russian-made missile used by Iran's military.

An initial report by Iran's civil aviation organisation said the plane had experienced an unspecified technical problem.

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Bodies recovered

The Ukrainian airliner took off at 6:12 AM local time and was given permission to climb to 26,000 feet, reports said. It crashed six minutes later near the town of Sabashahr.

Bodies and body parts recovered from the site of the crash have been taken to the coroner's office for identification, reports said.

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Speculation

The crash happened hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq, leading some to speculate that the plane may have been hit.

The initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction and had not been brought down by a missile.

(Photograph:AFP)