/Iran plane crash – 176 die in fireball hours after missile attacks on US bases sparking speculation flight w

Iran plane crash – 176 die in fireball hours after missile attacks on US bases sparking speculation flight w

A UKRAINIAN passenger plane has crashed near Iran’s Tehran airport – killing all 176 on board – as footage of the jet on fire before it hit the ground sparks fears it was shot down.

Three Brits were among the dead as the Kiev-bound Ukraine International Airlines jet came down just hours after Iran launched more than a dozen missiles in an attack on two US military bases in Iraq.

 The plane crashed shortly after take-off at Tehran Airport
The plane crashed shortly after take-off at Tehran Airport
 Footage appears to show the jet in flames before hitting the ground

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Footage appears to show the jet in flames before hitting the ground
 The plane was filmed hitting the ground in a ball of flames

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The plane was filmed hitting the ground in a ball of flamesCredit: Twitter
 Harrowing images showed victims placed in body bags at the scene

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Harrowing images showed victims placed in body bags at the sceneCredit: AFP or licensors
 A child's book lies among the wreckage strewn across the ground

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A child’s book lies among the wreckage strewn across the groundCredit: Getty – Contributor

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Iran’s official news agency said the Boeing 737 crashed near Tehran Airport after experiencing “technical problems”.

Qassem Biniaz, a spokesman for Iran’s Road and Transportation authority, claimed one of its engines caught fire, causing the pilot to lose control.

But the aircraft was new in 2016 and was last checked on 6 January 2020, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Horrifying footage posted online shows the passenger plane engulfed in flames as it went down.

The aircraft had 167 passengers and nine crew members on board the single-aisle, twin-engine jetliner.

There were 63 Canadians, 82 Iranians, 10 Swedes, three Germans and three Brits on board the doomed jet, Ukraine’s foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko confirmed.

There were also 11 Ukrainians and four Afghans aboard, he added.

The Foreign Office has not yet officially confirmed if any British nationals were on the plane.

‘SHOT DOWN’ FEARS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy today said he has instructed prosecutors to open criminal proceedings, and the black box flight recorders have reportedly been found.

The crash came just hours after Iran launched at least 15 missiles at two US bases housing American and British troops in Erbil and Al Asad.

It is feared the plane may have been shot down by nervous Iranian defences in the aftermath of the attacks.

The strikes were codenamed Operation Martyr Soleimani – in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US air raid last week.

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif called the attacks “self-defence”.

Donald Trump tweeted “All is well!” hours after the attacks but it is not yet known how many people were killed or injured.

A statement will be released later today.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has condemned the missile barrage and urged Tehran “not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks”.

 The scorched crash site is seen form air air after the plane slammed into the ground

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The scorched crash site is seen form air air after the plane slammed into the groundCredit: AFP
 Smoke rises after the fireball killed all 176 people on board

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Smoke rises after the fireball killed all 176 people on boardCredit: MIZAN
 Rescue teams examine what appears to be the wheel of the airliner in the wreckage

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Rescue teams examine what appears to be the wheel of the airliner in the wreckageCredit: AFP or licensors
 Emergency crews were rushed to the scene but all on board were found to have perished

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Emergency crews were rushed to the scene but all on board were found to have perishedCredit: AFP
 Wreckage could be seen strewn across the ground in a field near the airport

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Wreckage could be seen strewn across the ground in a field near the airportCredit: EPA
 Emergency crews sift through the wreckage this morning

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Emergency crews sift through the wreckage this morningCredit: AFP or licensors
 The possessions of victims were collected near the crash site

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The possessions of victims were collected near the crash siteCredit: EPA
 An arrivals board at Kiev airport shows the doomed Tehran flight

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An arrivals board at Kiev airport shows the doomed Tehran flightCredit: AP:Associated Press
 Flight trackers show the plane crashed near Parand just moments after take-off

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Flight trackers show the plane crashed near Parand just moments after take-offCredit: flightradar24.com
 The plane disappeared from flight radars around three minutes after take-off

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The plane disappeared from flight radars around three minutes after take-off

Flight data shows the plane reached an altitude of 2.4 km and then suddenly disappeared.

The three-year-old plane stopped sending data almost immediately after it took off, according to website FlightRadar24.

Harrowing pictures show victims being lined up in body bags at the scene and their possessions collected in a field nearby.

Some charred remains of the aircraft had fallen in or close to a residential area.

The US Federal Aviation Administration had earlier barred commercial flights from entering Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

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 Rescuers at the scene moments after the crash in Tehran
Rescuers at the scene moments after the crash in Tehran
 Burning wreckage is seen strewn across the ground ion the immediate aftermath

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Burning wreckage is seen strewn across the ground ion the immediate aftermathCredit: AFP or licensors
 Rescuers could not get near the crash site at first because the fire was too intense

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Rescuers could not get near the crash site at first because the fire was too intenseCredit: AFP or licensors
 Iranian state media claimed the plane caught fire after suffering engine problems

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Iranian state media claimed the plane caught fire after suffering engine problemsCredit: IRCS
 Authorities said 'technical problems' caused the deadly crash
Authorities said ‘technical problems’ caused the deadly crash
 Small charred parts of the plane were found on the ground

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Small charred parts of the plane were found on the groundCredit: AP:Associated Press
 Debris is seen following the aftermath of the crash near Tehran
Debris is seen following the aftermath of the crash near Tehran

This week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appeared to hint he was threatening another Lockerbie bombing as Tehran-backed Iraqi militias vowed to “send American soldiers back in coffins.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement: “My sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of all passengers and crew.”

It was over Ukraine that a Malaysia Airlines Flight was shot down by Russian-backed separatists in 2014 killing all 298 passengers and crew.

 The plane 'crashed between Parand and Shahriar' after taking off from Tehran (file image)
The plane ‘crashed between Parand and Shahriar’ after taking off from Tehran (file image)
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