Picture for representation
Picture for representation

Iran announced Saturday that its military 'unintentionally' shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard.

The statement came Saturday morning and blamed "human error" for the shootdown.

The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at US forces.

Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.

The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials.

The Kiev-bound Ukrainian Boeing 737 passenger plane crashed on Wednesday three minutes after taking off from Tehran airport.

Iran said the engine had caught fire and a video appeared to show the plane already ablaze as it fell from the sky.

The Ukrainian embassy in Iran initially ruled out a missile strike but later backtracked. The plane was less than four years old and had been checked just two days earlier, the Ukrainian airline said.

What is baffling is that despite the fire, the crew did not report an emergency. The crash sent alarm bells ringing in the already volatile region and several airlines have announced they will stop flying over Iranian airspace.

The disaster is another jolt for Boeing which was thrown into tizzy by two plane crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 which killed 346 people.

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