Iran’s aviation authority has said it will not hand over the black boxes from a plane that crashed moments after taking off, killing all 176 on board.
Flight PS752 took off from Tehran just hours after Iran fired dozens of ballistic missiles at bases housing US forces in Iraq.
A short time later, graphic footage showed the 737-800 aircraft on fire, hurtling towards the ground where it crashed in what appeared to be a fireball.
Iranian officials initially blamed the crash on a mechanical issue, but have since retracted that statement as the investigation continues.
Under international rules, responsibility for investigating the crash lies with Iran, and Iranian state television said both of the plane’s black box voice and data recorders had been found.
The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted the head of Iran’s civil aviation organization as saying it was not clear which country Iran would send the black boxes to for analysis of the data, but it would not give them to Boeing.
The plane was three-and-a-half years old, and carrier Ukraine International Airlines said it was serviced two days prior.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Boeing described the crash as a ‘tragic event’ and said they would ‘assist in any way needed’.
Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, three Germans, and three Britons, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
A passenger list here from the airline showed members of the same family were killed, children were on board and many passengers were under 35.
A newlywed couple that had gone to Iran to get married were among the Canadian victims.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “shocked and saddened” by the tragedy, and said he would work to get answers about what happened.
“Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure this crash is thoroughly investigated and that Canadians’ questions are answered.”
It was Kiev-based Ukraine International Airlines’ first fatal crash, and the carrier said it was doing everything possible to establish the cause.
Ukraine will send a team of experts to Iran later on Wednesday to investigate the crash, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in the Ukrainian capital.
He said he had instructed Ukraine’s prosecutor general to open criminal proceedings.