Iran confirms Ukrainian airliner was shot down by two Tor-M1 missiles as preliminary report into disaster is released
- Iran has confirmed the Ukrainian airliner was shot down by two Tor-M1 missiles
- Confirms video footage appearing to show projectiles being fired at the plane
- The Ukraine International Airlines plane shot down in error killing 176 people
Iran’s civil aviation authority has confirmed two Tor-M1 missiles were fired at a Ukrainian airliner that was brought down earlier this month.
A preliminary report into the disaster which killed all 176 passengers on board the plane was posted on its website late Monday.
‘Investigators… discovered that two Tor-M1 missiles… were fired at the aircraft,’ it said, adding an investigation was ongoing to assess the bearing their impact had on the accident.
Ukraine International Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 plane wreckage is seen in a picture from investigation team
Part of a missile is seen at the crash site. An object, said to be the Ukrainian jetliner flying in sky at the moment of explosion, was also seen (right)
Two Tor-M1 missiles like the one shown here were fired at the Ukrainian airliner, Iranian officials have confirmed (File image)
The statement confirms a report in The New York Times which included video footage appearing to show two projectiles being fired at the airliner.
The Tor-M1 is a short-range surface-to-air missile developed by the former Soviet Union that is designed to target aircraft or cruise missiles.
The Kiev-bound Ukraine International Airlines plane was shot down in a catastrophic error shortly after takeoff from Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.
Iran has come under mounting international pressure to carry out a full and transparent investigation into the air disaster.
Iranian officials had for days denied Western claims based on US intelligence reports that the Boeing 737 operating Flight PS752 had been shot down, initially saying the crash was caused by technical problems.
Video of the crash show the Boeing 737 flying through the night sky when it suddenly explodes into flames before falling to the ground several feet below
Iran had denied for several days that two missiles downed the aircraft. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft. The crash site has since been cleared
Iranian authorities said they recovered the crashed plane’s black box, or flight recorder, from the scene, but the devices sustained a level of damage because of the incident
Iranian officials eventually came clean, admitting that its own surface-to-air missiles brought the plane down.
The Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh accepted full responsibility, but said the missile operator who opened fire had been acting independently.
The nation had been on high alert at the time, hours after launching ballistic missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq in a strike that caused no casualties. That missile strike was in retaliation for a U.S. operation that killed powerful Iranian General Qassem Soleimani
The nation had been on alert after tit-for-tat military strikes between the United States and Iran, following the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani
A rescue worker at the site shows photographs which were recovered at the crash site
Among the large number of deceased Canadians, 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons died when the Ukrainian passenger plane was downed by two missiles
Canada, Ukraine and other nations who had citizens on the flight when it was accidentally shot down on January 8, have asked Iran to send the flight data and voice recorders to experts abroad for analysis.
Tehran has given mixed signals about whether they would be handed over. Canada, which had 57 citizens on the flight, has said France would the best place to send the black boxes because it was one of the few nations with the ability to read them.
Iran’s reluctance to hand over the black boxes may frustrate nations with citizens on the flight, many of whom were Iranians with dual nationality.