Tehran (Web Desk): The crew of a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Iran, killing 176 people, never made a radio call for help and were trying to turn back for the airport when their burning plane went down, an initial Iranian report said on Thursday.
The Iranian report suggests a sudden emergency struck the Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when it crashed, just minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran. It was the first fatal crash of the country's largest carrier, Ukraine International Airlines.
Investigators from Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation offered no immediate explanation for the disaster, however.
Ukraine, meanwhile, said it considered a missile strike or terrorism as possible theories for the crash, despite Iran's denials.
Iranian officials initially blamed a technical malfunction for the crash, something initially backed by Ukrainian officials before they said they wouldn't speculate amid an ongoing investigation.
The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing US troops amid a confrontation with Washington over it killing an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general in a drone strike last week.
The Ukrainian International Airlines took off at 6:12am on Wednesday, after nearly an hour's delay at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport, the main airport for travellers in Iran. It gained altitude heading west, reaching nearly 8,000 feet, according to both the report and flight-tracking data.
Then something went wrong, though no radio messages were received from the pilot regarding unusual situations, the report said. In emergencies, pilots typically immediately contact air-traffic controllers.