A Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) around 6:15 AM local time. The flight, Ukraine International Airlines PS752, was en route to Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport (KBP). Iranian authorities are reporting that the aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 crashed as a result of a “technical issue.” Iranian state media has confirmed that all 176 passengers and crew on-board the aircraft were killed in the crash. Initial reports stated that there were 180 passengers on-board the flight. Local authorities and responders arrived at the crash site shortly after the aircraft lost contact with air traffic control.
According to data available via the flight tracking application, Flightradar24, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 departed Iran’s primary international airport around 6:12 AM local time. Flight data indicates that contact with the aircraft was lost just two minutes after takeoff. It is not clear whether a distress call was made by the pilots. As previously noted, Iran state media is reporting that a technical problem on-board the aircraft lead to the crash.
Qassem Biniaz, a spokesperson for Iran’s Road and Transportation Authority elaborated on what lead to the crash, telling an Iranian news agency that one of the aircraft’s engines caught fire. Shortly thereafter, the pilots lost control of the aircraft.
The aircraft involved in this incident is a 3 year-old Boeing 737-800 delivered to Ukraine International Airlines in July 2016. The aircraft, UR-PSR, has a maximum capacity of 186 passengers. It should be noted that the Boeing 737-800 is not the same as the Boeing 737 MAX. The Boeing 737-800 first entered into commercial service in 1997 and is still in production as of January 2020. The Boeing 737-800 has an outstanding safety record with the last fatal incident involving the aircraft taking place in September 2018 though that incident is believed to have primarily been the result of a pilot error.
In a Tweet, Boeing noted that the company is “aware of the media reports” that an aircraft manufactured by the company had been involved in an incident in Iran.
Video has surfaced on social media that purportedly shows the aircraft engulfed in flames as it crashes. The video also shows the aircraft crashing nearby creating a massive fireball. Both video of the crash and images of the crash site have surfaced on social media.
Update: The aircraft’s black boxes have been recovered and an investigation into the cause of the crash has been launched.