Grief and mourning after Iran plane crash

Rescue teams recover debris from a field after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran.

Rescue teams recover debris from a field after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran.

AFP

TEHRAN - Bereaved friends and families joined in mourning after a Ukrainian airliner crashed near Tehran killing all 176 on board, as heartbreaking details started emerging about the victims, most of them from Iran and Canada.

Both Canada and the United States called for a full investigation to determine the cause of Wednesday's crash, which came shortly after Tehran launched missiles at American troops in Iraq in response to the killing of a top Iranian general.

There was no immediate indication that foul play may have caused the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane to go down soon after take-off, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned against speculating on the crash causes.

READ: Iran says Ukrainian plane turned back before crashing

Search-and-rescue teams combed through the smoking wreckage of the Boeing 737 flight to Kiev, but officials said there was no hope of finding survivors.

Body bags were lined up on the ground, and the passengers' personal items -- including luggage, clothes, a Santa Claus doll and a boxing glove -- were scattered in the debris.

At least 25 of the passengers were under the age of 18, the UIA said. 

READ: Canada mourns citizens killed in Iran plane crash

According to Ukraine, 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons were on board, as well as 11 Ukrainians -- including nine crew.

About 30 came from the Iranian community around Edmonton, capital of Alberta province in western Canada, where resident Payman Parseyan described the tragedy as "devastating." 

"Every one of our community members was touched in one way or another," Parseyan told Canada's national broadcaster CBC.

READ: Iran finds black boxes from crashed plane: aviation authority

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his "sincere condolences" to the bereaved families.

The head of Iran's civil aviation organisation, Ali Abedzadeh, said Iran would cooperate with Ukraine, but not send the black boxes to the US, with which it has no diplomatic relations.

Without naming Iran directly, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement calling for "complete cooperation with any investigation into the cause of the crash."

According to aviation experts, only a handful of countries are capable of analysing black boxes -- notably Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

Source
AFP