Tehran: A Kiev-bound Ukrainian Boeing 737 passenger plane with 179 people on board crashed on Wednesday shortly after taking off from the Iranian capital of Tehran, killing all those aboard.
The number of people on board had differed and also the toll was initially said to be 176.
But the head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services, Pir-Hossein Koulivand, confirmed the latest toll saying that there had been 170 passengers, including 147 Iranians, and nine crew members on the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 that went down in the vicinity of Parand, a city in Robat Karim county, reports Press TV.
Some 40 rescue teams have been dispatched to the crash site and an investigation into the cause of the accident was underway, deputy head of Iran Red Crescent Society Ebrahim Tajik said.
Qassem Biniaz, an official at the Iranian Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, told IRNA news agency that the plane crashed after its engine caught fire.
The pilot made an unsuccessful attempt to control the plane when the fire erupted, he said.
In a statement, Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran said engine failure caused the crash and there was no link to terrorism, reports the BBC.
“According to preliminary information, the plane crashed as a result of an engine failure for technical reasons. Currently, the version of a terrorist attack is ruled out,” the statement.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the creation of a crisis team to handle the accident, including top ministers and managed by the country’s national security agency.
“We have prepared emergency planes to send to Tehran… to fly out the bodies of the victims, we are waiting a confirmation by Iran for their departure,”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including all the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons and three Germans.
Ukraine International Airlines has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely.
The airline said that the aircraft had had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
Meanwhile, Ali Kashani, the public relations official at Imam Khomeini International Airport, said the crash had not affected traffic at the port and that all other flights were operating, according to schedule, said Press TV in a report.
This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.