/A visual guide to the Iran plane crash

A visual guide to the Iran plane crash

What happened?

Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 took off at 6.12am on Wednesday, after nearly an hour’s delay at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. It gained altitude heading west, reaching nearly 8,000ft, according to flight-tracking data.


Video footage and eyewitnesses, including the crew of another flight passing above it, depicted the plane engulfed in flames before it crashed into countryside south-west of the Iranian capital at 6.18am, causing a massive explosion.

Video purportedly shows moment Ukrainian passenger plane plummets near Tehran

The aircraft’s black boxes have been recovered, giving investigators access to data and cockpit communications, though some parts of their memory had been damaged in the crash.

Iran plane map

Who was on board?

Of the 176 people onboard, 78 were Iranian, 63 were Canadian and 11 were Ukrainian (including nine crew members), along with 10 Swedes, seven Afghans, four Britons and three German nationals. There was some confusion over the nationality of those killed, with many holding dual citizenship.

Tributes to some of the victims of the Iran plane crash at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv.

Tributes at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv to some of the victims of the Iran plane crash. Photograph: Pavlo_Bagmut/Ukrinform/Barcroft Media

What was the cause?

The reason for the crash is still under investigation, but western intelligence officials believe the plane, a Boeing 737-800, was accidentally shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile fired from a Tor-M1 air defence system, which has the Nato code name SA-15.

US officials told US media that they had identified the infrared signature from two suspected missile launches followed shortly afterwards by the infrared blip from the burning and fatally disabled aircraft.

Footage shows wreckage of Ukrainian passenger plane after fatal crash in Iran – video

The Tor is a Russian-made missile system. Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1s to Iran in 2007 as part of a $700m contract signed in December 2005. Iran has displayed the missiles in military parades as well.

What have the Ukrainians and the Iranians said?

Ukrainian investigators said they had not ruled out the possibility of a missile strike, citing unverified images posted on social media by an Iranian activist showing the remains of what could be a Russian-made Tor-M1 missile that he claimed was found near the plane’s crash site.

Images circulating online of what an Iranian activist said was missile head photographed near the crash site.

Images circulating online of what an Iranian activist said was a missile head photographed near the crash site.

Iranian officials initially blamed a technical malfunction for the crash, something backed by Ukrainian officials before they said they wouldn’t speculate amid an ongoing investigation.

A preliminary Iranian investigative report released on Thursday said that the pilots never made a radio call for help and that the aircraft was trying to turn back for the airport when the burning plane went down.

Iran’s head of civil aviation was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying that it was “impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane”.

What sort of plane was it?

The plane was a Boeing 737-800 model, the most popular aircraft in the world, used by airlines from Ryanair to American Airlines. The short-haul plane is the predecessor to the 737 Max, the model that was grounded after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.

Plane graphic

What is the context?

The crash occurred a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing US troops, amid a confrontation with the US over its killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani in a drone strike in Iraq last week.

Drone strike map
Original Source