'No survivors' after Ukrainian airliner crashes near Iranian capital, Tehran

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

TEHRAN - At least 180 passengers and crew in the Ukrainian plane are feared dead after the aircraft crashed in Iran on Wednesday, Iran's ISNA has reported.

The Boeing 737 plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran early Wednesday local time, ISNA said.

Rescue teams have been sent to an area near the airport where the Boeing 737 belonging to Ukraine International Airlines crashed, Reza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, told state television.

"The plane is on fire but we have sent crews ... and we may be able to save some passengers." Pir Hossein Koulivand, head of Iran's emergency services, told the television.

Initial reports indicate that the plane suffered "technical" problems immediately after takeoff before crashing.

Footage purportedly of the plane making rounds on social media shows the aircraft making several unstable oscillations before banging on the ground.

Huge flames are seen thereafter, tangible proof that no survivors in the latest tragedy involving a Boeing-assembled aircraft.

Pir Hossein later said: "The fire is so heavy that we cannot (do) any rescue... we have 22 ambulances, four bus ambulances, and a helicopter at the site."

IRNA said according to preliminary information "the plane was bound for Kyiv... and had 180 passengers and crew."

Boeing said that "we have received news about the tragedy but we must wait for verifiable statements before we inform the public what transpired".

Apparently, the accident takes place just six months after a similar aircraft owned by Ethiopian Airlines crashed in the outskirts of Addis Ababa, killing 157.

Of the casualties were dozens of Kenyans. Boeing, which was found liable for the violation of regulations, was asked to compensate victims.

Incidentally, the tragedy comes hours after Iran fired missiles at two US bases in Iraq, in retaliation for the death of Gen Qassem Soleimani.

The missiles, Iran claimed, killed 80 US soldiers. Tehran further added that the attack "is the weakest among many options we have".

But Pentagon said it was yet to assess the damage with President Donald Trump saying "all is good, the US has urged strongest military".

While Trump is set to issue a comprehensive statement, Iran is keenly targeting US allies and Wednesday's crash could be suspect.