A Ukraine International Airlines* passenger jet crashed shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, the New York Times reports. The plane has been identified by flight tracking service Flight Radar 24 as Flight PS752, a Boeing 737-800 flying from Tehran to Kiev. Flight PS752 took off at 6:12 a.m. on Wednesday local time and sent its last tracking signal two minutes later. The Iranian Students’ News Agency, which is state-run, reports that 176 passengers and crew were aboard, and the outlet posted a video that it says shows the plane during its fiery descent and crash:
According to ISNA, everyone aboard died in the crash, which was caused by technical problems. (Update, Jan. 8, 2020, at 12:31 p.m.: Ukraine has not ruled out the possibility that the plane was shot down.) The Boeing 737-800 is not the same plane as the 737 Max, the Boeing model whose engineering flaws recently caused the deaths of 346 people and the ouster of former CEO Dennis Muilenberg. In a statement, Boeing said, “We are aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information.”
There’s never a good time for a civilian airliner to crash in Iran, but this seems like a particularly bad one, given that Iran launched missiles against Iraqi military bases where U.S. troops were stationed earlier Wednesday morning. Shortly before the crash of PS752, the Federal Aviation Administration banned American airliners and pilots from flying over the region “due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations due to the potential for miscalculation or mis-identification.”
ISNA says that Iran’s national aviation department is investigating the circumstances of the crash and recovering the dead.
Correction, Jan. 8, 2020: This post originally misidentified the airline as Ukrainian International Airlines.