Ukrainian Presidential Press Service
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy lays flowers to commemorate victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane crash, at a memorial in Boryspil International airport outside Kiev, Ukraine January 9, 2020.
By The Stream Published on January 9, 2020 • 7 Comments
“The news will undoubtedly come as a further shock to the families who are already grieving in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirms what U.S. intelligence sources and the Ukrainian government have been saying: Iran likely shot down that Ukrainian airliner Wednesday morning in Tehran. “This may well have been unintentional,” said Trudeau.
176 people were killed, when the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 went down in flames on the outskirts of Tehran two minutes after take-off. And just hours after Iran fired 15 ballistic missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq. At least 63 of the victims were Canadian. And 138 of the passengers were heading to Canada.
A U.S. intelligence official tells The Washington Post there is “high confidence” the plane was hit by an air-defense missile. Both Reuters and the AP quoted U.S. officials as saying satellite data led them to believe Flight PS752 was most likely shot down accidentally.
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The doomed flight had been tracked by Iranian radar, and two minutes after take-off satellite data detected the heat signatures of two Russia-built SA-15 surface-to-air missiles. Then came an explosion. Signature data echoes what an alleged video of the plane indicates: Flight PS752 streaking sharply toward the ground in flames.
The New York Times has obtained a video of the moment the airliner was hit.
A closer view from a security camera of the moment the plane slammed into the ground. (:26 seconds in)
Iran quickly denied the plane was shot down, saying the plane had “technical difficulties” from an engine fire. Aviation experts immediately pointed out a Boeing 737 can easily fly with one engine. Further, The New York Times is reporting that “United States intelligence agencies later intercepted Iranian communications confirming that the SA-15 system brought down the Ukraine airliner, officials said.”
How Does This Happen?
How does this happen? You had Iran attacking Americans in Iraq Tuesday night. Iran expecting a possible massive retaliatory strike by the U.S. Surface-to-air missile systems are on high alert ready to protect the Iranian capital. And manning those systems? Some very anxious crews. (How much more anxious after seeing the U.S. military make quick work of Iran’s top general? How much more anxious after hearing Democrats and the American media yell and scream that President Trump was eager to start a war?)
Despite all this, in a colossal act of foolishness, Iran had not closed its air space. Planes full of innocent people were still taking off like it was a normal Wednesday morning.
President Trump seemed to doubt the shoot-down was deliberate. “It’s a tragic thing,” he told reporters at the White House. “It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood. Somebody could have made a mistake.”
Prime Minister Trudeau is calling for a thorough investigation to be “convinced beyond all doubt” what happened. He demanded Canadian officials be allowed access to the site. Also, Ukraine was negotiating with Iran to allow their investigators to search the crash site for possible rocket fragments. Under international aviation law, Iran would be responsible for overseeing the investigation of the crash.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani Thursday. “Hassan Rouhani stressed Iran would prove the Ukrainian expert group with prompt access to all the necessary data,” Zelenskiy’s office said in a statement.
We continue to pray for the families of those affected by this terrible tragedy, and for our personnel still in the region.