A Boeing Co. 737 passenger jet bound for Ukraine crashed shortly after takeoff in Iran, killing everyone on board.
All 167 passengers and 9 crew died after Ukraine International Flight 752 crashed at 6:18 a.m. local time in Sabashahr near Tehran, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said on its website.
The head of Tehran’s Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization, Mansour Darajati, said early assessments suggest the crash was caused by a technical issue and an emergency meeting will be held in the coming hours.
An official at Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that a Ukraine International Airlines flight crashed and there were no survivors. Television footage showed recovery efforts at the crash sight, where metal and other debris was spread over a charred field.
The tragedy comes at a tense time for both Iran and Boeing. Iran has just fired more than a dozen missiles at U.S.-Iraqi airbases in retaliation to the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani last week. Just prior to Wednesday’s crash, U.S. aviation regulators issued new restrictions barring civilian flights over Iraq and Iran.
Meanwhile, Boeing is still reeling from one of its worst crises ever following two crashes involving its best-selling 737 Max jets, which have been grounded.
The website flightradar24 showed the 737-800 jet left Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport for Boryspil International Airport early Wednesday morning local time.
The jet lifted off and climbed to about 7,900 feet altitude (2,408 meters) and traveling at about 300 miles (483 kilometers) an hour when it stopped transmitting its position and disappeared, according to data supplied by FlightRadar24. Other aircraft operating out of Tehran were tracked normally, said FlightRadar24 spokesman Ian Petchenik.
A Ukraine International Airlines employee picking up the general line declined to comment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky cut a trip to Oman short to go to Kyiv, his office said.
Boeing is still struggling with the fallout from crashes in Indonesia in October 2018 and Ethiopia last March. Those disasters, which killed nearly 350 people, involved the U.S. manufacturer’s 737 Max jet, which has been grounded globally for 10 months. The 737-800 and 737 Max are both variants of Boeing’s 737 narrow-body planes but the 737-800 hasn’t been grounded.