Ukrainian Airliner shot down in Iran

Loss of Ukrainian Boeing 737 due to anti aircraft missile.

Shortly after takeoff from Iran’s main airport on January 8th 2020 a Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing crashed in flames. The events happened so fast that I am now writing history but on the day in question there was a huge amount of media interest.

In my interviews with the TV and radio channels that I did, on and after the day, all I could say was that the explanation given by the Iranian Authorities did not seem plausible; three year old airliners don’t burst into flames and crash in that fashion without something catastrophic happening; and probably something external.

The theory that it was an engine crisis, seemed very unlikely indeed as even an engine that disintegrated would be unlikely to bring down an aircraft. Also, with one engine still working, a public transport aircraft will be capable of continuing a takeoff and climbing away safely, clearing all obstacles.

Rumours of a missile strike were soon supported by video evidence posted online and indeed this was finally confirmed by the Iranians themselves. It is hard to see how anyone expected to keep the true cause a secret for very long in this technologically advanced age and a simple mobile phone began the undoing of the lie, soon supported by intelligence agencies announcing detection of missile launches.

There has been conflicting information about the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, which have been destined for Ukraine and or Canada. The Iranian authorities have also said that they will download the data, which is a concern both technically and for reasons of openness.

Whatever the process now, whilst it may matter to relatives of the victims, it will be of little help to those on board; they must have had a terrifying end.