The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Iran has backtracked on plans to send the flight recorders of the Ukrainian airliner, Boeing 737-800, which was accidentally shot down by it abroad for analysis, a day after saying they would be sent to Kyiv. Hassan Rezaeifer, the head of accident investigations for the civil aviation, said the flight recorders from the Ukrainian Boeing are in Iranian hands and we have no plans to send them out.
His refusal comes days after he had said further analysis was not possible in Iran and experts from France, America and Canada will help analyse the black box in Kiev.
In case the analysis is not successful in Kiev, the boxes will then be handed over to France, news agency Tasnim quotes Rezaeifer as saying.
The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians.
The plane was a Boeing 737-800 that was designed and built in the U.S. The plane's engine was designed by CFM International, a joint company between French group Safran and U.S. group GE Aviation. Investigators from both countries have been invited to take part in the probe.
Three days after the incident, Iran had admitted responsibility after Western leaders said there was strong evidence the plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile.
‘Regretting’ the crash, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had offered ‘condolences’ to the families of the victims. “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752 (sic),” Rouhani said on Twitter.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said in another tweet.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif termed the development as ‘sad day’. Using a heartbreak emoji, Zarif tweeted, “A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”