A Ukrainian airliner with at least 180 people on board crashed on Wednesday due to technical problems soon after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported.
Rescue teams have been sent to an area near the airport where the Boeing 737 belonging to Ukraine International Airlines crashed, Reza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, told state television.
“The plane is on fire but we have sent crews … and we may be able to save some passengers.” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran’s emergency services, told the television.
He later said: “The fire is so heavy that we cannot (do) any rescue… we have 22 ambulances, four bus ambulances and a helicopter at the site.”
Jafarzadeh put the number of passengers on board the flight at 170.
According to air tracking service FlightRadar24, the plane that crashed was on Flight PS 752.
IRNA said according to preliminary information “the plane was bound for Kiev … and had 180 passengers and crew.”
Boeing said the company was aware of media reports of a plane crash in Iran and was gathering more information.
Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles and targeted US bases in Iraq on Tuesday night in retaliation for the killing of former Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani last week.