By Machuki Dennson
A Ukraine bound airliner crashed on Wednesday morning shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport killing all 176 people aboard. On board were 167 passengers and 9crew.
Ukraine International Airlines says there were 82 citizens of Iran on board, 63 from Canada, 11 citizens of Ukraine including 9 crew members, 10 citizens of Sweden, 4 citizens of Afghanistan, 3 citizens of United Kingdom and 3 citizens of Germany on board.
The Iranian national TV said the crash was due to technical problems but did not give details.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said there were no survivors adding that Ukraine was seeking to establish the circumstances of the crash.
“My sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of all passengers and crew,” said Zelenskiyin a statement.
The media in Iranian has been quoted saying an Iranian aviation official said the pilot of the airliner did not declare an emergency.
Despite the heavy presence of rescuers there is little they could do as the head of Iran’s emergency services Pirhossein Koulivand told the state television that “The fire is so heavy that we cannot doany rescue… we have 22 ambulances, four bus ambulances and a helicopter at the site,”
Television footage showed debris and smouldering engine parts strewn across a field, and rescue workers with face masks retrieving bodies of the victims.
According to air tracking service FlightRadar24, the plane that crashed was Flight PS 752 and was flying to Kiev. The plane was three years old and was a Boeing 737-NG.
A spokesman for Boeing said the company was aware of media reports of a plane crash in Iran and was gathering more information. The plane manufacturer grounded its 737 MAX fleet in March after two crashes that killed 346 people.