Yesterday we reported that intelligence agencies, from multiple western countries, believed that the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 that crashed in Iran wasn’t shot down, as reported by Reuters. Updated information has now presented evidence that the aircraft was in fact shot down.
Speaking at a news conference in Canada the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said intelligence now believes the aircraft was shot down by an Iranian missile; resulting in the death of 176 passengers and crew, including 63 Canadians.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.”Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking at the news conference
Reuters also reports that Washington had concluded, with a high degree of certainty, that an anti-aircraft missile was used to bring down the aircraft, after analysing satellite data. However the U.S. government believes that the aircraft was shot down by mistake, according to three officials speaking to Reuters.
Satellite data, being reviewed by the United States, reportedly showed the three year old aircraft in the air when heat signatures of two surface-to-air missiles were detected, the aircraft then produced a signature indicating it was on fire before crashing.
The same Space Based Infrared System was used to to detect the anti-aircraft missile fired by Russian-supported separatist fighters in 2014, that brought down a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 consequently killing 298 people.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also come forward in believing the aircraft was shot down, insisting complete transparency is needed to complete an investigation.
“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. The UK continues to call on all sides urgently to deescalate to reduce tensions in the region.”British Prime Minister Boris Johnson via Reuters
Video footage obtained and verified by The New York Times shows the aircraft being hit by an object, not long before crashing, which was also captured by CCTV:
Here we go. Video footage of an Iranian Tor M1 missile bringing down the 737-800, Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752. This certainly contradicts Iran’s “engine failure” narrative. pic.twitter.com/CyMjASAlFI— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) January 9, 2020
The New York Times says U.S. intelligence succeeded in tapping Iranian communications, confirming the aircraft was shot down by an Iranian short-range interceptor system called the SA-15.
With an investigation now in action, Ukraine has outlined four potential scenarios to explain the loss of the aircraft. Possible causes being assessed include a collision with another airborne object such as a drone, a missile strike, terrorism or an engine failure; which was previously reported by Iran as the failure.
Ukraine has already requested access to the crash field, to search for any traces of a missile used to destroy the aircraft. Unconfirmed images of a missile head have appeared on social media, however it remains unclear if it was involved.
An objects that looks like a piece of TOR M1 missile ( one of many in IRGC ‘s arsenal )has been found near the crash sight of Ukrainian Boeing 737, local people in Parand say they witnessed 3 missiles moving toward the Aircraft before it crashed #63_Canadians pic.twitter.com/GL3dsLmuoO— babak shekarabi (@BabakShekarabi) January 8, 2020
Adding to the woes, the rising tension between Iran and United States, following the death of Qasem Soleimani, produced statements saying they would shoot down anything that resembled a United States aircraft.
Whether it was a mix up or not, since the 737 can look like a large military aircraft on radar, once the missiles were fired it was too late as they are unable to be re-routed.
With all of this intelligence pointing towards an attack, Iran has since denied responsibility; calling it psychological warfare against Iran. Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei told state TV that Boeing, and countries whose citizens were on board the aircraft, are welcome to send representatives to join the crash investigation and view the blackbox data. Iran had previously said that the United States National Transportation Board and Boeing were prohibited from accessing the black boxes.
Major airlines around the world have since adjusted flight routes to avoid Iranian and Iraqi airspace, which you can read about here:
I am aware that yesterdays article about intelligence not believing the aircraft was shot down has resulted in anger or confusion. At the time of publication, Reuters, who is a reputable news source, reported this and I chose to cover it on this blog; I believe in including all the available information is important ,whether it be initial findings or final data.
Being a tragic crash that involved the death of many, covering the different perspectives is important. This article shows the adjustment of information, not only published by Reuters but also from other sources. I stand by both publications and do not have any political views or attachments in any way regarding the crash beliefs.
We will continue to report on the loss of Flight PS752 as more information becomes available.