Following the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800, shortly after takeoff from Iran on Wednesday, intelligence agencies from around the world have gathered to assess the situation, they have decided that they don’t believe the aircraft was shot down.

Five security sources – three Americans, one European and one Canadian – in contact with Reuters, who asked to not be identified, believe the aircraft suffered from a serious technical problem instead, which matches initial reports from Iranian media at the time of the crash.

“The initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies is that the plane was not brought down by a missile. There is no evidence to suggest that.”

Source in contact with Reuters

A brief inspection of the crash site showed signs that an engine had been overheating. The Boeing 737-800 is powered by two CFM International CFM56 engines.

Ukraine’s embassy in Iran was fast to state that an engine failure caused the crash, but CFM International, which is a joint-venture between General Electric and Safran, says it is too early to say. The embassy has since dropped this initial reference according to Reuters.

Suspicion that the aircraft was shot down came after missiles were launched by Iran earlier that day, in order to attack two United States military bases in Iraq, following the death of Qasem Soleimani.

Photos of the crash site show pieces of the aircraft fuselage and tail with similar holes to the ones identified on the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, that was shot down in 2014 resulting in the deaths of 298 people.

Despite the holes looking similar to shrapnel damage, it has been dismissed for now; it has been determined that rocks or debris could have caused the punctures. A full crash investigation will determine the cause of the accident.

The Aviation Herald says that Iran’s Accident Investigation Board has dispatched investigators to work on the crash, they have also requested Ukraine to participate in the investigation. Additionally, the United States, Sweden and Canada will also be participating due to the nationalities recorded on board and the origin of the aircraft.

Complicating the investigation was the announcement that the black boxes, recovered from the crash, would not be sent to the United States for analysis by Boeing or the National Transportation Safety Board. It remains unclear where the black boxes will be sent at this time, however Ukraine has been welcomed.

For the initial article reporting the crash, see here:

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