The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran said it will not hand over flight recorders from the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed near Tehran on Wednesday, either to the aircraft’s manufacturer or US aviation authorities.
The statement was issued on Wednesday as the leaders of Ukraine and Canada, a number of whose citizens died in the crash, vowed to identify the cause of the incident.
On Wednesday morning, a Boeing 737 plane operated by Ukraine International Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in southwest Tehran, killing all 179 people on board, including 147 Iranians.
The announcement by head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, Ali Abedzadeh, followed the launch of an urgent inquiry into the crash by the Ukrainian government, which rowed back on an earlier statement ruling out a terrorist act, The Guardian reported.
Speaking after the black box flight recorders were found at the crash site, Abedzadeh said, “We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer and the Americans. It’s not yet clear which country the black box will go to for the investigation.”
“This accident will be investigated by Iran’s aviation organization, but the Ukrainians can also be present during the incident’s investigation,” he added.
The Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 disappeared from flight trackers a few minutes after its delayed takeoff from Tehran, apparently suffering a catastrophic incident that caused it to break up in flames over farmland outside the city with crew unable to issue a mayday alert.
Under the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization, of which Iran, Ukraine and the US are all members, air crash investigations are led by the country where the accident occurred.
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Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the three-and-a-half-year-old Boeing 737-800, an assessment Ukrainian officials initially agreed with but later backed away from while the investigation is ongoing.
The plane had been last serviced two days before the accident, according to the airline.