A Boeing 737 belonging to Ukraine International Airlines has crashed due to technical problems after take-off from Iran’s Imam Khomeini airport with more than 170 passengers and crew aboard, the semi-official Fars news agency has tweeted.
There were no survivors from the crash, Iran’s Red Crescent has claimed.
“Obviously it is impossible that passengers” on flight PS-752 “are alive,” the head of Red Crescent told news agency ISNA, adding that 170 passengers and crew had boarded the plane.
State TV earlier said there were 180 passengers and crew aboard, however other local media have stated the aircraft was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew.
Flight data from the airport showed a Ukrainian 737-800 flown by Ukraine International Airlines took off Wednesday morning, then stopped sending data almost immediately afterwards, according to website FlightRadar24.
The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rescue teams remain on the scene near the airport, Reza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, told state television on Wednesday.
“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.
IRNA said according to preliminary information “the plane was bound for Kiev … and had 180 passengers and crew.”
Unverified video has been posted to Twitter showing what appears to be an aircraft banking in the night sky before crashing to the ground.
A photo later published by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency showed rescue officials in a farm field, with what appeared to be pieces of the aircraft laying nearby.
The crash comes just hours after Iran launched a missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq housing US forces following the killing of senior general Qassem Soleimani last week.
The Boeing 737-800 is a very common single-aisle, twin-engine jetliner used for short to medium-range flights. Thousands of planes are used by airlines around the world.
Introduced in the late 1990s, it is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for nearly 10 months following two deadly crashes.
More to come