A Boeing 737-800 jet crashed this morning in Tehran, Iran, minutes after takeoff. The plane was carrying passengers of a UIA (Ukraine International Airlines) flight. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Iranian state TV, all 176 people onboard have died.
Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians – including all of the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, as cited by the BBC.
Cause still unknown
There is a lot of confusion and mass speculation as to the exact cause of the crash at the moment. Initially, the Ukrainian embassy attributed the crash to an engine failure that media reports showed set the plane ablaze.
Ukraine had ruled out a terror attack, though that claim has been rescinded since.
“Having initially said the plane crash was due to engine failure and not foul play, there is now a new statement on the Ukrainian embassy website,” the Telegraph said. “It 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 earlier line ruling out terrorism or a rocket attack as possible causes have been removed.”
Terror attack or not, it is best to exercise caution and restraint before drawing any conclusions. The plane’s black box has been recovered. However, a new complication has arisen.
Iran refuses to submit black box to Boeing
Like most aviation accidents, the truth often lies within the black box of the crashed plane. Still, Iran won’t apparently return the black box to its manufacturer, Boeing, for investigation.
“The plane’s black box has been recovered but the head of Tehran’s civil aviation organisation said it will not be giving it to aircraft manufacturer Boeing,” Sky News reported.
This is according to a statement by Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Tehran’s civil aviation organization.
Given the ongoing political strife between the US and Iran, with Boeing being an American company itself, this should not come as much of a surprise.
However, Saj Ahmad, Chief Analyst at StrategicAero Research, told AMEinfo that he thinks this move could hurt the investigation: “I firmly believe that [Boeing] should be allowed to help out because they know their product better than anyone, and any insight they bring can make the difference.”
It will be difficult for the American manufacturer to convince Iran to comply with standard procedure at this point in time. For now, Abedzadeh said it was not clear which country Iran would send the box to so that its data could be analyzed, as per Mehr news agency reported.
We will have to wait for the situation to develop. The truth will emerge with the black box, so until then, it is better to hold off on speculation.
Boeing’s woes continue
This crash is Boeing’s third crash since October of 2018, when a software-induced fault aboard its Boeing 737-MAX 8 plane caused the jet to malfunction above Indonesian soil. A similarly-caused crash occurred in March of the following year, this time involving an Ethiopian airline. Since then, the 737-MAX planes have been grounded worldwide and Boeing put under investigation for the faulty software that led to the tragedies. 346 people perished in both accidents.