Iran shot down plane with two Russian-made missiles, US official says

By Tara John, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 2:07 a.m. ET, January 10, 2020
44 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:42 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

National Transportation Safety Board says it "will not speculate about the cause of the crash"

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will participate in the investigation into the Ukrainian Airlines flight that crashed in Iran, killing 176 people, according to a statement. 

The statement said the agency “will not speculate about the cause of the crash” and that Iranian authorities, which notified the NTSB of the crash, will be the lead agency.

The NTSB has designated one of its investigators, known as an “accredited representative,” to assist.

7:27 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Transportation Safety Board of Canada invited to plane crash site in Iran

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

Rescue teams gather at the scene after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on Jan. 8.
Rescue teams gather at the scene after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on Jan. 8. Rouhollah Vahdati/ISNA/AFP via Getty Images

The Iranian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has invited the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) to go to the Ukrainian airliner crash site in Tehran, according to a release from TSB.

The TSB has accepted the invitation and is making arrangements to travel to the site, where the board will work with other groups and organizations already on site, the release said. 

“The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) again extends its condolences to the families and loved ones of the people who perished in the tragic crash,” the release added.
7:20 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Iran: Ukraine and Boeing have been invited to join investigation of Ukrainian Airlines crash

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Iran’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Abbas Mousavi tweeted that the investigation into the cause behind the crash of Ukrainian Airlines flight has officially launched based on international guidelines set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Mousavi added that representatives from Ukraine and aircraft manufacturer Boeing have been invited to take part in the investigation.

He ended the tweet by saying, “We appreciate any country who can provide information to the committee in charge.”

6:27 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

US official: Iranian authorities invite National Transportation Safety Board to join investigation

From CNN's Evan Perez

Iranian aviation authorities have invited the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to join the investigation into the Ukrainian Airlines plane that crashed in Iran, killing 176 people on board, according to a US official. 

What we know about the crash: The US increasingly believes Iran mistakenly shot down the airliner, according to multiple US officials.

Allowing US investigators to participate in the inquiry is significant and allows Boeing to participate. But it sets up a thorny situation because some sanctions would need to be waived to allow the US side to participate.

The plane involved is a Boeing 737-800. The company and the NTSB did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

5:27 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa cancel flights to Tehran 

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel and Anastasia Graham-Yooll

Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa canceled flights to Tehran today, the airlines said. 

Lufthansa flight LH 600, which was on its way from Frankfurt to Tehran, will return to Frankfurt, the German airline said in a statement. 

Both airlines in separate statements said the decisions were made due to "the latest reports and a changed assessment of the security situation for the airspace around Tehran airport." 

Both Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa have suspended flights to Tehran for Friday and said they "continue to evaluate the situation on site with national and international authorities." 

This development comes after multiple American officials said the US increasingly believes that Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday. 

5:33 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Iranian ambassador to UN on crash: "A thorough investigation is underway on the incident"

Spencer Platt/Getty Images/FILE
Spencer Platt/Getty Images/FILE

Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi expressed condolences for the families of the plane crash victims.

In comments to the UN Security Council this afternoon, he said:

"We express our deep condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in a plane crash in Iran. A thorough investigation is underway on the incident."

4:22 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

JUST IN: Video appears to show missile hitting object in sky over Tehran

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Two frames from a video sent to CNN that appears to show a missile fired into the Tehran sky early Wednesday morning and striking an object in the sky.
Two frames from a video sent to CNN that appears to show a missile fired into the Tehran sky early Wednesday morning and striking an object in the sky. Obtained by Nariman Gharib

Video sent to CNN appears to show a missile fired into the Tehran sky early Wednesday morning and striking an object in the sky. Around that time, a Ukranian airliner crashed shortly after takeoff.

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video, but the buildings seen in it appears similar to ones that are in the Iranian capitol suburb of Parand. The Ukrainian plane crashed just north of the suburb.

The video, obtained by Nariman Gharib who then sent it to CNN and the New York Times, shows a light in the sky, moving left to right and then exploding. 

CNN has asked Gharib for more information of who took the video and how he obtained it, but has not yet received a response.

The US increasingly believes that Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Tuesday, according to multiple US officials. The working theory is based on continuing analysis of data from satellites, radar and electronic data collected routinely by US military and intelligence.

The flight was downed following Iranian strikes on US forces in Iraq.

The Ukrainian Jetliner that crashed Wednesday was shot down by two Russian made surface to air missiles (SA-15), according to a US official familiar with the intelligence. The US saw Iranian radar signals lock onto the jetliner, before it being shot down.

4:42 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

There's a "body of information" that Iranian missile brought down Ukraine plane, UK leader says

From CNN's Sarah Dean

There's now a "body of information" that the Ukrainian airliner, which crashed shortly after takeoff in Tehran, was shot down by an Iranian missile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement today:

"There is now a body of information that the flight was shot down by an Iranian Surface to Air Missile. This may well have been unintentional. We are working closely with Canada and our international partners and there now needs to be a full, transparent investigation."

Four British nationals were on board the flight, the statement said, and it is now "vital that there should be an immediate and respectful repatriation of those who’ve lost their lives to allow their families to grieve properly."

"The UK continues to call on all sides urgently to deescalate to reduce tensions in the region."

4:03 p.m. ET, January 9, 2020

Ukraine's president: "This is a terrible tragedy"

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his condolences over the deaths of Canadian citizens in the airliner crash in a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"This is a terrible tragedy and our shared pain," Zelensky said in a statement released today. 

Zelensky added that Ukraine is "interested in a transparent and objective investigation of the tragedy and finding the truth." 

About the victims: Of the 176 victims on board, 63 were Canadian. The country's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 138 were going to fly on to Canada, and that their connecting flight had arrived in Toronto with many seats empty.