The crew of the Ukrainian jet that crashed in Tehran never made an emergency call and were trying to return to the airport while on fire, according to the initial investigative report from Iranian officals.
Ukraine officials said they are considering a missile strike as one possible cause of the disaster, despite Iranian denials.
Investigators from Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization offered no immediate explanation for the disaster, however. Iranian officials initially blamed a technical malfunction for the crash, something initially backed by Ukrainian officials before they said they wouldn’t speculate amid an ongoing investigation.
The Ukrainian International airliner took off at 6:12 a.m. and reached 8,000 feet before something went wrong. There were no radio messages received from the crew reporting anything unusual, according to the report.
The crew of a plane flying above it reported an eyewitness account of the Ukrainian jet being in flames below them before it crashed.
The report also confirmed that both of the so-called “black boxes” that contain data and cockpit communications from the plane had been recovered, though they sustained damage and some parts of their memory was lost. It also said that investigators have initially ruled out laser or electromagnetic interference as causing the crash.
Ukraine’s secretary of Security Council, Oleksiy Danilov, told Ukrainian media that there were several theories regarding the crash, including a missile strike.
“A strike by a missile, possibly a Tor missile system, is among the main (theories), as information has surfaced on the internet about elements of a missile being found near the site of the crash,” Danilov said.
Ukrainian investigators are awaiting permission from Iranian officials to examine the site and look for missile fragments.
An Iranian general, as spokesman for Iranian Armed Forces, has denied the allegations of a missile strike, stating that they were “psychological warfare” from foreign-based Iranian opposition groups.