The first photos of the ill-fated Boeing 737-800 belonging to Ukraine International Airlines have been revealed. Pictures posted on Facebook by Ukrainian journalist Uriy Butusov, who said they were provided by a source close to the investigation into the tragedy, show the wreckage of Flight P752 – the front end of the plane.
The journalist said the photos were taken at a site near the airport in Tehran, where investigation teams are examining the wreckage.
Butusov said that the investigation teams have so far found the upper part of the cockpit, which was perforated by elements of the missile. According to him, the pattern of damage indicates that the cockpit burned from the inside out and that the missile hit the bottom of the jet, as the search team has been unable to find the lower part of the cockpit. They also uncovered the passport of a Canadian citizen.
The Boeing 737-800, belonging to Ukraine International Airlines, went down in the early hours of 8 January. All 176 people on board died in the crash. Among the victims, there were dozens of Canadians and Iranians, as well as nationals from Ukraine, Sweden, the UK, Germany, and Afghanistan. Days after the tragedy, Canadian and US officials claimed that the jet was shot down by the Iranian military, which Tehran denied. On Saturday, Iran said the investigation had revealed that the plane was unintentionally shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as the country’s military was at its highest level of readiness following the escalation of tensions with the United States.
The downing of the plane came hours after Iran conducted a missile strike on US troops stationed in Iraq in response to the killing of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on 3 January. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani described the plane crash as an "unforgivable mistake". Iran’s military has apologised to the families of the victims and said that those responsible for the tragedy will be held accountable and prosecuted.
Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 11, 2020
Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752