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

Boeing: Judge orders pilots suing manufacturer over 737 MAX to reveal their names

by Christian Fleetwood

Pilots suing Boeing over lost wages have been given an ultimatum: reveal their names or withdraw the case.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Failed travel agency issued customers fake plane tickets before going under

Yet another travel agency has filed for liquidation, this time after issuing customers with fake plane tickets.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Investigation underway after flight attendant falls from parked plane

by Christian Fleetwood

A flight attendant has been seriously injured after falling out the door of a parked aircraft.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Cue the wanderlust: These are the world’s most Instagrammed forests

In an era where experiences, purpose and sustainability are driving travel, visiting the world’s forests is a great way to encourage travellers to leave no trace.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie airports on alert for deadly coronavirus as US confirms its first case

by Ali Coulton

Health authorities are working with airports to quell the risk of a pandemic of the deadly novel coronavirus.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Trivago licks its wounds after court loss, as industry bodies applaud ruling

by Huntley Mitchell

Trivago has responded to the Federal Court’s ruling that it misled consumers about hotel room rates on its website and in its TV ads. Find out what the OTA had to say here.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Lonely Planet launches its first tour range

by Ali Coulton

The iconic travel publisher has teamed up with Intrepid Travel to “bring its guide books to life”. We’re not sure if that means the tours will be led by giant talking books.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Collette’s Lexy Wildash

This week, Collette’s marketing specialist gave us tips on how to get the perfect money shot at the Trevi Fountain without getting mobbed by crowds.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruise Wrap: Silversea’s new grand voyage, Hurtigruten launches bushfire appeal, Crystal’s new river deployments + MORE!

Not spending your Wednesday cruising through the Mediterranean? Perusing this week’s Cruise Wrap is the next best thing. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

The easiest (and most enjoyable) way to become a Phuket expert

by Sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand

Are you an agent looking to sharpen your selling skills for Thailand’s largest island without having to read boring books or complete online training modules? Herein lies the solution.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Emirates pledges bushfire support, Qantas returns to Byron Bay + MORE!

This week’s Aviation Wrap is brought to you by Travel Weekly’s roving reporter, who has decided to wear compression socks with thongs to the office today. It’s not a good look.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin strengthens ANA codeshare agreement ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Sadly though, we won’t get to witness Sir Richard Branson ride a baggage carousel with pretend giant sushi in celebration of this news.

Share

CommentComments