US officials believe Iran accidentally shot down Ukrainian airplane killing 176 people: Reports
Washington DC (USA) | Jagran News Desk: Amid the escalating tensions between US and Iran, American officials on Thursday said that the Ukraine airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard, was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defences.
The US officials -- quoted by Reuters -- said that US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion.
US President Donald Trump has also said the crash could have been a mistake, adding he had a terrible feeling about the downed airliner but offering no evidence.
"I have my suspicions. It was flying in a pretty rough neighbourhood and somebody could have made a mistake," Trump told reporters at a the White House.
"Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don't think that's even a question," Trumps said while adding that he had suspicions about the crash but giving no other details.
On Wednesday, a Kiev-bound Ukrainian airplane crashed near Tehran, killing all 176 people onboard. The deceased included 167 passengers and nine crew members. The Boeing 737 commercial plane belonging to Ukraine International Airlines crashed after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport.
Ukrainian minister, quoted by AFP, had said that the crashed Ukrainian airplane had 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians on board.
An initial report by Iran's civil aviation organisation said the plane had experienced an unspecified technical problem. It further said that said there was no radio communication from the pilot and that the aircraft disappeared from radar at 8,000 feet (2,440 m).
The Iranian authorities have also said that the Ukrainian airliner had turned back after suffering a problem. "The plane, which was initially headed west to leave the airport zone, turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash," the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation said on its website late Wednesday.
"According to eyewitnesses, a fire was seen on board the plane which grew in intensity," the organisation added, reporting the first findings of its investigation into the crash.
The crash came hours after Iran launched over a dozen ballistic misslies on two American airbases in Iraq in retaliation of the assassination of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone attack ordered by President Donald Trump last week.
(With agency inputs)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma