The crew of the Ukrainian plane that crashed in Iran killing all 176 people on board did not make a radio call for help, investigators have said.
Iran’s civil aviation authority said pilots were trying to turn the aircraft back to the airport in Tehran when the plane went down.
They made the comments in a preliminary report a day after the devastating crash that killed three British people.
Victims came from seven countries in total and included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians and all of the crew made up of 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, Ukraine foreign affairs minister Vadym Prystaiko said on Wednesday.
The investigators also said that the plane was engulfed in fire before it crashed. A massive explosion went off as the plane hit the ground, likely because the aircraft had been fully loaded with fuel for the flight to Kyiv, Ukraine, the report said.
It also confirmed that both of the black boxes that contain data and cockpit communications from the plane had been recovered, though they had been damaged and some parts of their memory were lost.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said crash investigators from his country had arrived in Iran to assist in the probe.
He also said he planned to call President Hassan Rouhani about the crash and the investigation. ‘Undoubtedly, the priority for Ukraine is to identify the causes of the plane crash,’ Mr Zelenskiy said.
‘We will surely find out the truth.’ Yesterday tributes were paid to the three British victims of the Ukrainian International Airlines crash. Father-of-one Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh, 40, was travelling home to Brighton, East Sussex, after visiting family over Christmas.
Engineer and PhD student Saeed Tahmasebi, 35, from Brentwood, Essex, was also on board when the plane went down.
Saeed was originally from Iran and had been on his way back to the UK with his wife, who he had only recently married.
BP engineer Sam Zokaei, 42, who lived in London was believed to be returning from a holiday in Iran. The Boeing 737 came down just minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini Airport.
Iran said it will not hand over black box flight recorders recovered from the plane, saying it would lead the investigation itself.
The black box will play a key role in determining what the cause of the crash was.
Under global aviation rules, Iran has the right to lead the investigation, but manufacturers are typically involved and experts say few countries are capable of analysing black boxes. (Metro UK)