Ukrainian Boeing plane crashes in Iran, 176 people dead

By Tara John, Jessie Yeung and Eliza Mackintosh, CNN

Updated 6:37 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020
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5:02 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ukrainian embassy replaces statement on causes behind plane crash

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

Rescue workers carry victims' remains at the crash site.
Rescue workers carry victims' remains at the crash site. Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Ukraine's embassy in Iran has clarified its previous press release, which ruled out a terror or rocket attack as a cause behind Wednesday's plane crash.

A new embassy statement now says that information on the causes for the incident is "being clarified." It added that any prior statements on the causes of the crash "are not official."

"Information on the causes of the plane crash is being clarified by the commission. Any statements regarding the causes of the accident prior to the decision of said commission are not official.

An earlier statement on the embassy's website, which has since been taken down, initially ruled out a terror attack as a possible cause for the crash, adding that preliminary information suggested an engine malfunction.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook post earlier that the country has set up a commission to “work through all possible versions."

5:20 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Black boxes from crashed plane found - Iran State TV

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Atlanta

The two black boxes from the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed in Iran on Wednesday have been found, Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported, citing the Tehran prosecutor.

5:11 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ukraine International Airlines confirms plane built in 2016

From CNN’s Zahra Ullah in Moscow

A Ukraine International Airlines plane is seen parked at Borispol International Airport in Ukraine in October 2019.
A Ukraine International Airlines plane is seen parked at Borispol International Airport in Ukraine in October 2019. Artur Buibarov/Shutterstock

Ukraine International Airlines released a statement Wednesday confirming that its flight PS752, operating to Kiev, disappeared from radars a few minutes after its departure from the Iranian capital.

The flight departed Tehran International Airport at 6:10 a.m., the statement said.

It added that the plane was a Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, registration UR-PSR, and "was built in 2016 and delivered directly to the airline from the manufacturer."

The airline has suspended all its flights to Tehran until further notice.

Ukraine International Airlines expressed its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the crash and will do everything possible to support them, the statement said. 

The airline added that it is currently clarifying the exact number of passengers on board after preliminary data said there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board.

5:19 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans and Britons among victims - Kiev

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac and Mary Ilyushina

The victims of Wednesday's plane crash in Iran include 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko tweeted.

A spokesperson for Ukraine International Airlines told a press conference that the plane was last checked on January 6 and there have been no complaints previously in relation to the jet.   

3:10 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Turkey offers condolences to Ukraine after crash

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu issued a statement Wednesday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu issued a statement Wednesday. Adem Altan/AFP via Getty Images

International reaction to the Ukrainian Airlines plane crash in Iran is flooding in.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart, Vadym Prystaiko, on Wednesday.

Cavusoglu offered his condolences "about the Ukrainian plane that crashed,” Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a statement.

5:01 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Iran Civil Aviation Authority investigating crash

Search and rescue workers coordinate at the crash site.
Search and rescue workers coordinate at the crash site. Handout/Iranian Red Crescent/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority has set up a team to investigate the crash of flight PS752 from Tehran to the Ukrainian capital Kiev, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

It added that an investigation is under way and data is already being collected.

5:37 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ukrainian embassy rules out terror attack, says engine failure caused crash

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

Authorities work near the wreckage of the Ukrainian plane on Wednesday.
Authorities work near the wreckage of the Ukrainian plane on Wednesday. Rouhollah Vahdati/ISNA/AFP via Getty Images

The Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran has ruled out a terror attack as a possible cause for the plane crash, instead saying in a statement that preliminary information suggests engine failure was responsible.

“According to preliminary information, the plane crashed due to an engine malfunction. The version of the terrorist attack or rocket attack is currently excluded,” the statement on its website read. 
2:24 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

There have been several deadly plane crashes in Iran over the years

The debris of a Boeing cargo plane that crashed near Tehran on January 14, 2019.
The debris of a Boeing cargo plane that crashed near Tehran on January 14, 2019. HASAN SHIRVANI/AFP via Getty Images

The plane crash that killed 176 people outside Tehran earlier today is just the latest in a series of deadly aviation incidents that have taken place in Iran. These include:

  • In 2009, an airliner crashed in northwestern Iran, near the city of Qazvin. It plunged to the ground and disintegrated on impact, killing all 168 passengers and crew -- including 10 members of the country's youth judo team.
  • In 2011, an Iranian jet crashed near the northwest city of Orumiyeh, in bad weather. Seventy-seven people were killed.
  • In 2018, an Iranian Aseman aircraft crashed in Kohangan village, in the south of the country, killing all 65 people on board.
  • In 2019, a Boeing 707 cargo plane belonging to Iran's army crashed near Tehran after the pilot lost control of the aircraft. Fifteen people on board died.
1:51 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ukrainian President cuts trip short to return to Kiev

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on December 9, 2019.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on December 9, 2019. CHARLES PLATIAU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will break off his trip to Oman to return to Kiev to deal with the plane crash, according to his official Twitter account.

An earlier statement on his official Facebook page said Zelensky traveled to Oman at his own expense with his family.