Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran initially stated that the crash occurred due to engine failure and that it is not linked to terrorism. "According to preliminary information, the plane crashed as a result of an engine failure for technical reasons. Currently, the version of a terrorist attack is ruled out," it stated on the Ukraine Foreign Ministry's website. However, the airline, Ukrainian International Airlines, said there was nothing wrong with its plane.
A commission is working to clarify the causes of the plane crash
A new statement on the Ukrainian embassy website reads: "A commission is working to clarify the causes of the plane crash. Any statements regarding the causes of the accident prior to the findings of the commission are not official."
The plane was carrying passengers from seven countries. According to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko, those on board included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons. The exact number of lives lost is currently unknown. “According to preliminary data, there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board. UIA representatives are currently clarifying the exact number of passengers on board,” Ukrainian International Airlines said in a statement.
According to flight tracking websites, the Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines took off from Imam Khomeini international airport at 6:12 a.m. Tehran time on Wednesday 8 January and went down about 10 minutes later. Civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said that the pilot had no contact with the tower and didn’t announce an emergency situation before the crash.
Ukrainian International Airlines has suspended flights to Iran until further notice.