Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 Crashes In Iran

***Update: 01/08/2020 @ 11:29 UTC: Statement from Boeing***

Breaking news coming out of Tehran as a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 has crashed shortly after takeoff. Flight 752 was bound for Kyiv Boryspil when the aircraft went down near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Ukraine 737 crash
A Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 has crashed. Photo: Getty

PS752 crashed after takeoff

CNN reports that 167 passengers were on board at the time of the flight. In addition to this, nine crew members were on the plane. There are thought to be no survivors.

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Ukraine 737 crash
Workers pick through the wreckage of the crash. Photo: Getty

According to the report, the passengers included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians. There were also 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British people on board the aircraft.

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Speculation has been rife that the aircraft may have been shot down, either on purpose or in error, amid the escalating geopolitical tensions in the area. The Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran initially said that a terror attack was ruled out, and that the cause of the crash was an engine failure. However, it later replaced this statement with one saying that the cause is ‘being clarified’:

“Information on the causes of the plane crash is being clarified by the commission. Any statements regarding the causes of the accident prior to the decision of said commission are not official.”

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Ukraine 737 crash
Wreckage was strewn across a large area. Photo: Getty

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned against speculation, saying that the nation was sending emergency aircraft to the area. He said,

“I ask everyone to keep from speculating and putting forth unconfirmed theories about the crash … 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.”

Ukraine 737 crash
177 people are thought to have lost their lives. Photo: Getty

Only six minutes into the flight

Data from Flightradar24 indicates that the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 went off radar just after takeoff from Tehran.

Images and video from the crash show a horrific scene.

The aircraft was scheduled to depart from Tehran at 05:15 local time. However, the aircraft did not become airborne until 06:12 local time.

Further data indicates that the aircraft’s speed leveled off at around 275 knots before going off radar. The aircraft, however, continued to gain altitude. The Boeing 737-800 went down only six minutes after takeoff.

A statement from Boeing reads:

This is a tragic event and our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand by them in this difficult time. We are ready to assist in any way needed.

Ukraine International Airlines
The UIA Boeing 737-800 went off radar about six minutes after takeoff. Photo: Getty Images

PS752 is a regularly scheduled flight connecting Iran’s capital, Tehran, to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. The flight operates five times per week.

The Ukraine International Airlines aircraft

The aircraft involved in this incident was registered as UR-PSR. Data from Planespotters indicates that the aircraft is just over 3 years old. Furthermore, the data indicates that this is a leased aircraft that has only flown for Ukraine International Airlines. UR-PSR is also a frequent aircraft operating this route. The plane previously flew between Tehran and Kyiv on UIA on January 3rd, 4th, and 6th before operating this flight on January 8th, 2020.

UR-PSR
The aircraft, UR-PSR, involved in the incident as seen in Istanbul. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

Boeing 737s are a major part of Ukraine International’s narrowbody fleet. In addition to the -800 variant, UIA also flies the larger 737-900. In terms of widebody aircraft, UIA also flies Boeing 767-300ERs and Boeing 777-200ERs.

Ukraine International close-up
The 737-800 is a large part of UIA’s narrowbody fleet. Photo: Ukraine International Airlines

The investigation

This crash comes at an unfortunately tense geopolitical moment. Involved in this incident was a Boeing 737-800. Generally, the American manufacturer would be able to assist the investigatory team in the investigation. However, given the current tensions between the United States and Iran, it is unclear if Boeing will provide any support to the investigatory team. No details have come out about how this investigation will be done.

Boeing 737-800 Ukraine International Airlines
It is unclear if Boeing will partake in this investigation. Photo: Ukraine International Airlines

As one of the most popular narrowbody aircraft out there, this investigation will be watched closely around the world. And, the last thing Boeing needs is a hidden issue with 737NG aircraft. However, it is important to note that as of now, very little information has surfaced as to what led to this crash.

The thoughts and condolences of the entire Simple Flying team are with those affected by this horrific crash.

This is a breaking story. Simple Flying will provide updates to this story.

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Abdul

The video shows a bright trail of light behind the aircraft, which seems like foul play to me. Could this plane have been shot down, because a lot of people think that too. Either way, people died and my heart goes out to them

Praveen Kundapura

certainly looks like a missile strike. Iranian’s falling to American trap. Either way, both are cunning countries dangerous to world peace along with medieval saudi.

TonytTDK

It’s possible, but IMO unlikely.!
The flight had just taken-off from Tehran’s main airport & is from a ‘friendly’ nation, so there’s no obvious reason for Iran to shoot it down.
Also, it’s unlikely that Iranian attack missles would be located on the ground, directly on the flight-path out of Khomeni airport, to have accidentally brought-down this aircraft during last nights ‘self-defence’ attack on the US in Baghdad.?

Gary

But could it have been done by a drone strike from a US drone missile.
That did it at the international airport in Baghdad last week.
also the US shot down that Iran Air Airbus A300 or A310 back in 1988.
When a US warship strayed in to Iranian waters and thought it was a warplanes and not a civilian aircraft.

stogieguy7

There’s no way that an American drone got that far into Iran, undetected. Nor is this Baghdad. IF the USA were to start sending missiles into Tehran, you would know it because there would be more blown up than one aircraft. And that doesn’t even seem to be the strategy at the moment anyway. The most likely cause would seem to be trigger-happy Iranian military firing off anti-aircraft weaponry at perceived threats that didn’t exist. And heat-seeking missiles love jet engines. The UIA plane’s altitude at the time is right in the easy range of such weapons.

Abdul

Yes that makes sense TonyTDK but something had to have happened. Also I was thinking that Iranian’s have a lot of drones, what if one was being tested and hit the Flight. It’s a far fetched theory but it could have happened.

TonytTDK

Abdul,
You seem to have called it accurately.
The Iranian government have now said they accidentlly shot it down, believing it to be in an ‘attack posture’ on one of their military position.
Very sad & very unfortunate for the completely innocent passengers & crew.

Ozan

I am investigating air crashes since decades. Flight was climbing at normal speed and angle. Something suddenley happened. It cannot be fire on board /hold as you would see some turns right or to left before it dissappear from rada.. something more sudden happened. Its clear that this aircraft was shotdown intentionaly or by mistake.

TheDude

Shot down or something onboard exploded (i.e. a bomb). One look at the debris field tells you everything you need to know. I don’t know how anyone could argue this plane was not shot down or sabotaged.

David

Agreed, but the proof may take a while.

mohave

There are “clean” punctures on the underside of the horizontal stabilizer. Looks like an external explosion. The images were posted on Twitter. If there are punctures on the skin of the rest of the airframe, it should be easily settled in a few days. Accidental antiaircraft artillery or a missile seems likely to me,

sunny burt

Good thing so far the Boeing may not be involved in the investigation re. this very sad crash. Frankly, one hopes no US-based interests like NTSB, FAA, Boeing, or the engine manufacturers ought to be allowed into the investigative process–even as ‘observers’. These folks rush into every foreign air-crash incident, but the possibility of these chappies actually including people who act as arms of US intelligence agencies is very high no matter where in the world they report from. Any loose talk suggesting foul play about the aircraft having been shot down (presumably by Iranian agents) is only slavish pro-US… Read more »

John

I think France will probably do the FDR and VCR decoding. They did it recently for another crash and are still a country supporting the Obama agreement so Tehran should trust them. Definitely not Britain given their response.
A crash investigator on the radio this morning said that usually when a plane is shot down, there will be large pieces intact (of which there are none) and he figured that the plane hit the ground close to horizontal at high speed, thus the fragmentation.

avsak@hotmail.com

RIP one day everything okay, next day, who knows what waits us, no body knows what will happen even one hour ahead. Just keep praying.

TheDude

So if it’s inevitable and out of our control what is the point of praying?

John

None of course.

DAVID BORLE

Not exactly the perfect beginning in 2020 for Boeing…

TheDude

So Boeing is responsible for Iran shooting down a plane? Interesting.

DAVID BORLE

In the “lambda” passenger’s mind the fact is another 737 has crashed. Doesn’t need to be rational.

Armand2REP

Engine caught fire due to bird strike. After 6 minutes of being airbourne it should have been able to land. This is Boeing’s fault for not having a plane that can land on one engine. The 737 is finished.

Steve

easily fly the 737 with one engine

Armand2REP

Not when Boeing failed to replace the engine cowling so that debris from it doesn’t hit the fuselage. This happened on a Southwest flight just a couple of months ago. Instead of grounding the aircraft like they were supposed to and make the fix, 176 more people are now dead. You can make all the excuses in the world, it isn’t going to bring any comfort to the families or the confidence of the public.

TheDude

Boeing doesn’t make the engine that failed. The plane landed safely. You are not very smart are you?

Armand2REP

Boeing designs the cowling that protects the plane if an engine does explode and the NTSB already ruled against them for failing to fix it.

Jeremy

That still doesn’t explain why the plane disappeared off the radar that suddenly. We would have seen a drop in both speed and altitude if the plane went down by a birdstrike.

TheDude

This is one of the most ignorant statements I have read in a long time.

Transworld

Agreed. It takes time for any engine issue to propgate , flight does not just end.

From the debris filed as was noted, its disintegration in the air. It was fairly low (5000 ft AGL) otherwise it would have been scatter for miles per MA over Ukraine at 35k.

Its either a bomb, a missile or a never before seen total structural failure.

IJBos

I don’t think this is at all related to any issues with the 737. This is a NG model, not a MAX, so obviously not an MCAS issue. In fact I think this has nothing to do with the 737-800 as an aircraft, as this is a very proven variant of a very proven aircraft! Pickle fork cracks are a slight possibility but I think due to the very young age of this aircraft, this is incredibly unlikely. I think the most likely thing is the aircraft was shot down by someone in Iran, but I don’t think as of… Read more »

stogieguy7

MCAS errors never caused the MAX to burst into flames in midair. But a missile or mortar certainly could. Witnesses heard anti-aircraft batteries firing around that time. But Iran’s regime will never admit to this because the truth is most inconvenient for them.

Transworld

Mortars to no shoot aircraft down.

AA would take time to bring it down

Marques Dean

First of all,thoughts and prayers for the loved ones who were on board the flight. Second,has anyone considered that it’s possible the plane suffered an UNCONTAINED ENGINE FAILURE?? CFM International engines like the ones used on this 737 have come under scrutiny in recent years because of incidents involving fan blade separation. If that did happen the shrapnel may have ruptured fuel and critical hydraulic systems that may have rendered the plane uncontrollable, in spite of the fact that the plane is designed to fly on one engine in case the other fails. This may have been an honest to… Read more »

Transworld

No, an uncontained engine failure would propagate relatively slowly, damage, alarms, pilot calls would ensure.

Damage would be to wings and fuselage not the cockpit.

Flight simply quit, wide scattered wreckage and no comes is a flight breakup caused by bomb, missile (remotely possible AA but AA is a low roll as well) or a total sudden structural failure (no 737 has ever suffered that)

JackFlash

This machine was too new for cracks to matter. The debris field is quite large indicating that aircraft disintegrated midair.
It could have been air defences friendly fire, or possibly fuel tank vapour explosion due to faulty wiring or some other on-board catastrophic event. TWA crash looked as the plane was hit by a missile.

tromp

sounds like it was shot down

pats

Correct. Single engine landing & takeoff is an ETOPS requirement for all commercial planes. Any 2 engine plane that has been ETOPS certified can fly with a single engine, albeit at lower altitudes.

David

Aviation does not need this right now, least of all Boeing. And the statistic will remain that flying is still safer than driving to the airport.

John

The ground lost contact with the plane suddenly which suggests something catastrophic. Has anyone seen an aerial shot of the impact zone? If its small then the plane came down in one piece.

Gary

Could of been a faulty fuel line or oil line.
since it was serviced just 2 days before this happened.
Fuel leaking in to a hot engine or oil, causes the engines to explode.
If a piece of the engine from an exploded engine goes up and into the fuel tanks.
This would cause a fireball as well.

TheDude

Well if it were that simple this would happen on a weekly basis…

Gerry S

My guess is an uncontained engine failure which ruptured fuel tanks and ignited.