179 feared dead after Ukrainian plane crashes near Tehran

A Ukrainian airplane with 179 people aboard crashed after takeoff in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Wednesday, killing all on board, according to Iranian state TV and Ukrainian officials.

Pir Hossein Kulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services agency, told state TV that all aboard were killed, according to The Associated Press.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that he had received reports of the crash that indicated all passengers and crew were killed. He extended his condolences to the families of the victims.

State TV said that there were 179 people were aboard, and all but 32 of them were Iranian.

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Video from the scene showed what appeared to be pieces of an aircraft fuselage, an engine and other debris.

The plane had taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport, Iranian State TV reported. The crash is suspected to have been caused by mechanical issues, it added, without elaborating.

Reza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, said an investigation team was at the site of the crash on the southwestern outskirts of Tehran, according to the AP.

Iranian state TV reported that officials got word of the crash just before 6:30 a.m. It had previously reported that 180 people were on board the Boeing 737.

Boeing Co. said in a statement: “We are aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information.”

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Reports of the crash came hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq as retaliation for the killing of a top Iranian general by a U.S. airstrike. The Defense Department said Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles early Wednesday local time.

The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, issued “notices to airmen” outlining flight restrictions in the region Tuesday night.

The FAA said the notices prohibited U.S. civilian aviation operators from flying in the airspace over Iraq, Iran and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The agency said it was closely monitoring events in the Middle East.

The Associated Press contributed.

source: nbcnews.com