Aviation

Iran acknowledges Ukraine International Airlines flight was brought down “unintentionally” by military

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

After initially denying responsibility, Iran has acknowledged it “unintentionally” brought down a Ukrainian aircraft carrying 176 people, including Iranian citizens.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps airspace unit has accepted “full responsibility” for bringing down a Boeing 737-800, operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA).

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the military unit, confirmed suspicions the jet was brought down by a missile, but said repeated requests to close Iran’s airspace before the incident occurred were denied.

“We had requested several times that the country’s airspace become clear of all flights,” Hajizadeh said, as reported by ABC News.

“Requests were made, but due to some considerations, it was not done and at the same time with the flights, the war situation continued to exist.”

Hajizadeh said the airline’s pilot and crew had done nothing wrong, and instead an Iranian officer made the “bad decision” to open fire on the plane after reportedly mistaking it for a cruise missile, according to ABC News.

The admission follows days of denial and wrongdoing by the state, with the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, among other officials, earlier maintaining mechanical issues were to blame.

However, it has since been speculated security forces may have concealed information from civilian authorities regarding the cause of the crash.

“Concealing the truth from the administration is dreadful,” Mohammad Fazeli, a sociology professor in Tehran, wrote on social media.

“If it had not been concealed, the head of civil aviation and the government spokesmen would not have persistently denied it.”

Iran blames America for tragedy

But while the military has taken responsibility for the incident, Iran has laid blame on the United States for the tragedy.

“After all, this is the price of mischiefs, turbulences and actions of America in the region,” Hajizadeh said, according to ABC News.

“That night … the probability of fighter jets and cruise missiles entering the country was very high and [we] had prepared ourselves for an all-out conflict.”

The downing came just hours after Iran launched a missile strike targeting two Iraqi military bases housing United States forces, in retaliation for America’s killing of Qassem Soleimani.

According to a statement read on state television, Flight PS752 had flown close to a sensitive military site and those responsible for shooting down the jet would be held accountable, as reported by ABC News.

Hajizadeh’s comments came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed he had received intelligence that the jet that crashed in Tehran – killing all on board – was shot down by Iran.

“It’s absolutely irresponsible”: UIA criticises decision to leave airspace open 

UIA, which operated flight PS752, has condemned the decision by Iran to leave its airspace open during hostilities occurring throughout the region.

“It’s absolutely irresponsible,” vice president Ihor Sosnovskiy told reporters. “There must be protection around ordinary people. If they are shooting somewhere from somewhere, they are obliged to close the airport.”

Following the downing of flight PS752, multiple international airlines – including Qantas – chose to divert flight paths across the Middle East to avoid Iraqi and Iranian airspace.

President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged Iran’s responsibility for the downing of the jet, and blamed it in part on “threats and bullying” by the United States after the killing of general Soleimani, AP News reported.

He expressed Iran’s condolences and called for a full investigation and the prosecution of those responsible.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also deflected part of the blame: in a tweet, he said the findings of an internal investigation found human error at a time of crisis “caused by US adventurism” had “led to disaster”.

Officials say 82 Iranians, at least 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians died in the crash of UIA Flight PS752, travelling on a routine flight from Tehran to Kyiv.

Iran’s late acknowledgement of the plane being shot down was met with protests across the country, with hundreds of reported protesters outside universities in Tehran, demanding the removal of officials involved in the missile attack and that they be tried, AP News reported.

Featured image: (iStock.com/Jozsef Soos)

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

MH370 case continues with fresh revelations

by Christian Fleetwood

Ahead of the premiere of a new documentary on the doomed flight, an ex-prime minister has thrown in his two cents.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Cathay Pacific’s Richard Jones

This week we begged Cathay Pacific’s regional head of marketing and sales to put us on the next flight outta here, or at least give us a Midweek Interview. He chose the latter.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Webjet’s “key disappointment” in half-yearly results

by Huntley Mitchell

Webjet has taken a significant hit to profit growth in the first half of FY20, which it largely blames on the collapse of a key client.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruise Wrap: RCL heads to Eden, Viking’s points promo, Silversea single supplement savings + MORE!

Wish you were cruising through the Caribbean rather than slugging it out with the rest of us? Feel free to live vicariously through the images in this Cruise Wrap.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel Counsellors appoints first corporate travel MD

Travel Counsellors for Business has hired its first-ever MD… as in managing director. Not medical doctor, as originally reported by Travel Weekly.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Event Hospitality & Entertainment forms JV with budget hotel group

Without giving too much away, this story is a ‘Jucy’ one. However, that’s not to say it’s full of pips.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Win a trip for two on an exclusive Rocky Mountaineer journey

by Sponsored by Rocky Mountaineer

In celebration of Rocky Mountaineer’s 30th anniversary, travel agents have the chance to win a trip for two on an extraordinary journey! Click here for all the details.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

“We’re agent-friendly, that’s our business”: Busabout launches new booking platform

Adventure Planner is designed to give agents the tools to create a seamless, flexible and personalised trip across Europe for independent travellers.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Prague cracks down on Airbnb to avoid becoming a “ghost city”

Prague has taken the next step in its crusade against home-sharing platforms like Airbnb, approving a swathe of legislation to police short-term rentals.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Princess to inject $140 million into Aussie tourism with 44 new deployments

Princess Cruises is looking to pump money into the struggling domestic market by adding 44 new deployments in Australia for Sapphire Princess.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Boeing’s $74m 737 MAX relief, Emirates helps Arsenal prepare for EPL run in with Dubai training camp + MORE!

When writing this week’s Aviation Wrap, we could have sworn the sound of airplanes taking off was in the air. On second appraisal, we discovered it was just tinnitus. 

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Excite Holidays directors to regain control following creditors vote

by Huntley Mitchell

The directors of Excite Holidays are set to take back control of most of the companies tied up with the wholesaler, following a vote by creditors yesterday.

Share

CommentComments