London — A Ukrainian Boeing-737 with more than 170 people on board has crashed in Iran, officials say.
Iran’s Red Crescent said there was no chance of finding survivors.
The Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed just after take-off from Iran’s Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran, said the Fars state news agency.
The plane was flying to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Ukraine’s government said a crisis group was being set up to investigate the crash.
President Volodymyr Zelensky was cutting short a trip to Oman and returning to Kyiv, a statement said.
“My sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of all passengers and crew,” he said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear what caused the Boeing 737-800 aircraft to crash, but Iranian news agency Fars reported it was suspected to have been caused by technical issues, as did Iran’s official news agency IRNA.
Iran’s civil aviation spokesperson Reza Jafarzadeh said that an investigation team was present at the site of the crash close to the airport in the southwestern peripheries of Tehran, the Associated Press reported.
“After taking off from Imam Khomeini international airport it crashed between Parand and Shahriar,” Jafarzadeh said. “An investigation team from the national aviation department was dispatched to the location after the news was announced.”
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft have been involved in a number of fatal accidents over the years. In March 2016, a Flydubai 737-800 from Dubai crashed while trying to land at Rostov-on-Don airport in Russia. Sixty-two people aboard lost their lives.
The Boeing 737-800 is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for almost 10 months following two crashes, one in Ethiopia and the other in Indonesia.
FlightRadar24 said the Ukrainian flight on Wednesday was not operated by a Boeing 737 MAX.
Iran has suffered a series of fatal air accidents in recent years. Decades of international sanctions imposed on the country has taken a toll on its commercial passenger aircraft fleet.( AFP , Reuters , BBC)