Flight 752 Shot Down In Ukraine


Keira McManus, Staff Editor

On January 8, a few minutes after 6 a.m. Tehran time, Ukraine International Flight 752 took off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport. Within three minutes after Flight 752 took off, there were no radio messages from the pilot. The plane had exploded in midair and crashed into a field, killing all 167 passengers and nine crew on board.

On Saturday 11, Iran admitted to mistakenly shooting down the Ukrainian passenger plane, carrying 167 passengers. Before Iran had admitted to shooting down Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 outside Tehran on Wednesday, Ukraine realized the plane had been destroyed by a missile. U.S. officials and leaders of Canada and Britain told the world they believed the plane was more than likely shot down by Iran. Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked them to share information with him, but held off announcing any of Ukraine’s conclusions, “a strategic decision,” Danilov said.

This tragedy added to an unstable time in Iran: on Friday, the United States killed the country’s most famous military commander, Qassem Soleimani. On Tuesday, 56  people were killed in a stampede as the commander’s casket was carried in a funeral procession. Then, Iran fired missiles that struck two American bases in Iraq, killing no one from the U.S. army, but killing some of their own instead. 

When that plane crashed within hours of those strikes, immediately rumors started to circulate. Was the crash related to escalating Iran-U.S. tensions? “Something happened to blow that plane out of the air. Statistically speaking that’s a missile or a bomb,” says the former Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo. 

According to public data, flight 752 stopped transmitting radio data just over three minutes after taking off. The news agency in Iran shared a video that claimed to show the plane breaking up into fiery streaks before eventually crashing in even more flames. 

The plane was a Boeing 737-800, was manufactured in the United States. 

The nationalities of passengers carried, suggesting some were dual citizens. In all accounts, the plurality of the deceased were Iranian. Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs counted 63 Canadians aboard the flight. Others on the plane included citizens of Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the United Kingdom.. 

After the crash, according to multiple reports, the Ukrainian embassy in Iran released a statement ruling out terrorism as the cause of the crash. Reuters reported, citing five anonymous security sources, that Western intelligence agencies believe the plane had suffered a technical malfunction and had not been brought down by a missile.