US believes Iran accidentally shot down Ukraine plane
AUkraine airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people on board, was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defences, US officials were reported as saying on Thursday, a conclusion Iran reportedly dismissed as “impossible”, Aljazeera reports.
The Ukrainian International airliner bound for the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, crashed minutes after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.
One US official told Reuters news agency that US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion. Two officials said Washington believed the downing of the plane was accidental. Newsweek, CBS and the Associated Press news agency also reported the US officials’ assessments.
The Pentagon declined to comment.
Iran reportedly dismissed the reports as “illogical rumours”.
“It is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane,” Iran’s head of civil aviation was quote by Iran’s INSA news agency as saying.
Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s top security official, said earlier on Thursday that airliner may have been brought down by a Russian-made missile.
According to Danilov, who is the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, a team of 45 Ukrainian experts had arrived in Tehran to
examine why the plane crashed. They were investigating other theories as well.
Back in Washington, US President Donald Trump said he had “suspicions” about the crash.
“It was flying in a pretty rough neighbourhood and somebody could have made a mistake,” he said.
“Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question,” he added, without offering any evidence for his conclusion.
Iran: Ukraine plane caught fire but crew never called for help
A Ukrainian airliner that crashed outside of Tehran was on fire and trying to turn back but its crew never made a radio call for help, Iranian investigators said, Aljazeera reports.