A civilian aircraft carrying 180 people to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv has crashed a few minutes after taking off from the international airport of Tehran, Iran.
According to the reports, the Boeing 737-800 belonging to Ukrainian International Airlines took off from Imam Khomeini international airport at 6.12 AM Tehran time and went down about eight minutes later, according to flight-tracking websites.
Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services said most passengers on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight have died due to the crash.
A video purportedly of the crash circulated by news portals showed the aircraft burning as it fell from the sky.
Ukrainian Boeing 737 crashes outside Tehran before dawn today with 180 on board. Video of the aircraft apparently ablaze before the crash. pic.twitter.com/IkUL6Y6gJj
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) January 8, 2020
Aviation giant Boeing has confirmed the crash. The plane, a 4-year-old Boeing 737-800 operates on a different software system than the 737 Max 8 aircraft from the company that were grounded due to safety concerns earlier last year.
Early indications suggested the crash did not appear to have links to the missile strikes by Iran on US bases in Iraq. Though conspiracy theories suggesting links with US-Iran tensions, nuclear tests and a targeted attack are doing rounds on social media.
Interestingly, a 4.9-magnitude earthquake struck Iran near the Bushehr nuclear plant on Wednesday raising suspicion on Iran conducting a nuclear test amidst the tensions in the middle east following Iranian missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US troops.
The United States Geological Survey has also confirmed that the earthquake struck 10 km southeast of Borazjan, Iran. The locations of the earthquake’s epicentre are close to the city of Bushehr, near which the nuclear plant is located. However, reports say the earthquake was most likely natural.
The earthquake has occurred few hours after Iranian carried out missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US-led coalition personnel. The Iranian offensive was retaliation for a US drone strike that killed Iran’s second most powerful figure, the Quds Force commander Major General Qasem Soleimani.