Ukrainian Airplane Crashes near Iran’s Capital, Killing 176
Airline companies are changing flight paths throughout the Middle East following the deadly crash of a Ukrainian passenger plane in Iran Wednesday.
The crash killed all 176 people on the plane. It happened just hours after Iran attacked American bases in Iraq with ballistic missiles. No one was hurt in the strikes. The strikes were in answer to the U.S. killing last week of Iranian military official Qassem Soleimani.
The plane crashed minutes after leaving Tehran airport. Iranian officials said they believed a mechanical problem caused the crash. They have disputed suggestions that the plane was hit by a missile.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy cut short a visit to Oman to return to Kyiv following the crash. He said a team of Ukrainian experts would fly to Tehran to help investigate the crash. "Our priority is to find the truth and everyone responsible for the tragedy," Zelenskiy wrote in a Facebook statement.
The UIA flight was bound for Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, carrying 167 passengers and a crew of nine. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said the dead included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons. Airline officials said most of the passengers were going to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to change planes for other cities.
Later Wednesday, several European airline companies announced they were changing their routes to avoid Iranian airspace. The changes are expected to decrease air travel between Iran and Western Europe.
Air France and Dutch airline KLM both said Wednesday that they had suspended all flights over Iranian and Iraqi airspace. German airline Lufthansa also canceled flights to Iraq.
In North America, Air Canada changed its flight paths from Toronto to Dubai through Egypt and Saudi Arabia to avoid traveling over Iraq.
In Canada, Foreign Minister Fran?ois-Philippe Champagne said Wednesday Canada's "hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians."
The Ukrainian president asked Ukraine International Airlines to begin a full inspection of all non-military airplanes in the country.
Iran's Road and Transportation Ministry said it appears that one of the plane's engines caught fire.
The plane was fully loaded with fuel for its 2,300-kilometer trip. It crashed near the town of Shahedshahr, just outside Tehran.
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坠机事故造成机上176人全部遇难 。事故发生于伊朗用弹道导弹袭击美国驻伊拉克基地的数小时后 。导弹袭击并没有导致美国基地人员伤亡 。这轮袭击报复美国上周暗杀伊朗军官卡西姆·苏莱曼尼 。
飞机在德黑兰机场起飞几分钟后坠毁 。伊朗官员表示，他们认为这起坠机事故是由机械故障所致 。他们对客机被导弹击中的说法存疑 。
飞机坠毁后，乌克兰总统泽伦斯基中断对阿曼的短暂访问，返回基辅 。他说，一队乌克兰专家将飞往德黑兰协助调查坠机事故 。泽伦斯基在脸书的声明中写道：“我们的首要任务是找出真相以及那些要对这起悲剧负责的所有人 。”
这架乌克兰国际航班原定飞往乌克兰首都基辅，搭载有167名乘客和9名机组人员 。乌克兰外交部长瓦德姆·普赖斯塔科科表示，遇难者包括82名伊朗人，63名加拿大人，11名乌克兰人，10名瑞典人，4名阿富汗人，3名德国人和3名英国人 。航空公司官员表示，大多数乘客前往乌克兰首都基辅，转机前往其它城市 。
周三晚些时候，几家欧洲航空公司宣布改变航线以避开伊朗领空 。预计此举也会导致伊朗和西欧之间的航班减少 。
法国航空公司和荷兰航空公司KLM都在周三表示，他们已暂停所有飞越伊朗和伊拉克领空的航班 。德国汉莎航空公司也取消了飞往伊拉克的航班 。
这架飞机满载了2300公里行程的燃油 。它在德黑兰郊外的Shahedshahr镇附近坠毁 。