Ukrainian aircraft was not hit by a missile: Iran's civil aviation chief

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 10, 2020, 02.42 PM(IST) Edited By: Abhilash Mahajan

The wreckage of the Ukrainian aircraft  Photograph:( AFP )

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'One thing is for certain, this airplane was not hit by a missile,' the Iranian civil aviation chief said in a press conference. 

Amid row over the crash of Ukrainian plane in Tehran, Iran's civil aviation chief Ali Abedzadeh said on Friday he was "certain" that the aircraft was not hit by a missile. 

"One thing is for certain, this airplane was not hit by a missile," Abedzadeh said in a press conference. 

Also read: Intelligence evidence indicates Boeing airliner was shot down by Iranian surface-to-air missile: Trudeau

Iran's civil aviation chief's statements came after Britain and Canada claimed that intelligence sources suggested a catastrophic error by Iranian air defence batteries had crashed the aircraft.

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Also read: Iran says rumours missile caused plane crash make 'no sense'

Abedzadeh also said that "any remarks made before the data is extracted ... is not an expert opinion."

Earlier, a video was surfaced that showed the moment the airliner was hit. 

Also read: Iran plane crash news: Iran formally invites US transport board to investigate Boeing airliner crash

New York Times claimed that it has verified the footage, which shows a rapidly-moving object rising to an angle into the sky before a flash is noticed, which dims and continues moving forward. After several seconds, an explosion is heard. 

"We have seen some videos. We confirm that the airplane was on fire for 60 to 70 seconds," Abedzadeh said. 

But to say "that it was hit by something cannot be scientifically correct," the aviation chief added. 

On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that probe from multiple agencies showed that the plane was crashed after it was shot down by an Iranian missile.

63 Canadians were amongst the 176 people that were killed in the crash.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also backed Trudeau's claims and said that the missile targetting the aircraft "may well have been unintentional."

The Ukranian airlines' Boeing 737 crashed after taking off from Tehran on Wednesday, nearly at the same time when Iran claimed it fired two missiles on US airbases in Iraq. 

(with inputs from agencies)