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

Tourism

ATEC tickled pink with Labor Party tourism funding promise

As professional journalists, we at Travel Weekly remain completely unbiased when it comes to political matters. However, we’re just going to leave this here…

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

“The time is right”: industry legend, Barry Mayo, retires after 60+ years in travel

We think we speak for everyone when we say we can’t imagine an Australian travel industry without this industry stalwart!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Tourism Western Australia partners with AAT Kings and showcases WA wildlife to Sydney

Rumours are that part of the collaboration deal is that the AAT execs all get free camel rides whenever they want, which we completely understand.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Humans of Antarctica

Travel Weekly joined Aurora Expeditions for an Antarctic circle expedition and met some amazing travellers who waited over two years for the adventure.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre scores whopping government contract

Work for Flight Centre? Your tax dollars could now be contributing to your own salary, according to our vague understanding of the ATO.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Start-up airline, Bonza, to embrace Uber model

However, it’s not yet confirmed whether the pilots will be willing to give life advice to drunk passengers, like the rideshare app.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Midweek Catch-up with UnCruise Adventures’ Kirsty Bozlee

We’re not sure how to UnCruise… and when we asked the company’s vice president of operations, she thought we were joking.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Travel DAZE to feature Aussie film premiere!

We’ve got another spate of fabulous speakers to announce for Travel DAZE 2022 as well as a surprise big reveal.

Share

CommentComments

Conferences

PHOTOS: ATE goes off with a bang

If you’re like one unlucky Travel Weekly reporter who has COVID, these pics will help you live vicariously through the conference-goers.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas’ new long-haul flights could cost over $18,000

For this price, we’d hope that the flights come with a complimentary mani-pedi and a pet bunny called “Fluffy” to keep us company during the flight.

Share

CommentComments

News

Returned special events to hit Seoul this month

The Travel Weekly criteria for what makes an event special is whether they have Tim Tams – although we can make exceptions for international events.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Intrepid debuts its first all-female leadership team

Rumour has it, Beyoncé’s Run the World (Girls) could be heard blasting from Intrepid’s Australia office moments after they announced this news.

Share

CommentComments