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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - A Ukrainian passenger aircraft has crashed shortly after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran.
The Boeing 737 had 176 people on board and suffered technical problems, according to reports.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday that all passengers and crew on board Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed, citing preliminary information.
"My sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of all passengers and crew," he said.
Mr Zelenskiy said Ukraine was trying to establish the circumstances of the crash and the official death toll.
An investigation team was at the site of the crash on the south-western outskirts of Tehran, Iran's civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said.
"The fire is so heavy that we cannot (do) any rescue... we have 22 ambulances, four bus ambulances and a helicopter at the site," Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran's emergency services, told state television.
“After taking off from Imam Khomeini international airport it crashed between Parand and Shahriar," Mr Jafarzadeh said. “An investigation team from the national aviation department was dispatched to the location after the news was announced.”
Flight data from the airport showed a Ukrainian 737-800 aircraft flown by Ukraine International Airlines took off for Kiev on Wednesday morning, then stopped sending data almost immediately afterwards, according to website FlightRadar24.
Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the company was aware of media reports of a plane crash in Iran and was gathering more information.
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.
Website planefinder.net, which tracks flights worldwide, listed the two-engine aircraft as three years old, saying it was delivered in July 2016.
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 on board.
Boeing is already mired in crisis following crashes in October 2018 and last March. Those disasters, which killed nearly 350 people, involved the US manufacturer’s 737 Max jet, which has been grounded globally for 10 months.
Boeing is still developing a fix for the flaws discovered in a flight-control system new to the 737 Max model. The 737-800 that is reported to have crashed near Tehran on Wednesday didn’t have that system.
Under international law, Iran would lead the investigation since the crash occurred on its soil. Few nations have the expertise and technical facilities to conduct a full accident probe, however, so the US, France or other countries often provide assistance. The plane’s crash-proof recorders, for example, will have to be downloaded in a specialized lab and only a handful exist around the world.
The international rules for investigations also allow the country that manufactured the plane to participate in an investigation. That arrangement allows planemakers to provide their technical expertise. However, the current political turmoil between Iran and the US is likely to complicate the involvement of the National Transportation Safety Board and Boeing.
Updated: January 8, 2020 10:17 AM
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