Search and rescue works are conducted at site after a Boeing 737 plane belonging to a Ukrainian airline crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran just after takeoff with 180 passengers on board in Parand, Iran on January 08, 2020.

Anadolu Agency

A Boeing 737 passenger jet operated by a Ukrainian airline crashed minutes after take-off from Tehran on Wednesday morning, killing all on board.

There were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said in a statement. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that there were no survivors.

The Boeing 737-800 was bound for Kyiv from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport shortly after 6 a.m. local time. Press photos showed emergency workers combing through wreckage outside of Tehran.

Ukraine International Airlines later confirmed the numbers on board and said that the aircraft had been carrying citizens of Canada, Iran, Sweden and Ukraine. It has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely. Ukraine’s foreign minister separately said there were four passengers from Afghanistan, three from Germany, and three from Britain.

During a press conference, a spokesperson for the airline said there had been nothing wrong with the plane which was last serviced on Jan. 6 and that the crew were very experienced.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, and could take months to determine, but Iran’s Fars news agency reported that the jet crashed due to technical problems, without providing more detail. The Ukrainian embassy in Iran released a statement saying engine failure had caused the crash, citing preliminary information. However, it later removed that statement and said “any statements regarding the causes of the accident prior to the decision of the commission are not official.”

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Ukraine International Airlines said that it was doing everything possible to find out the causes of the crash and would undertake a thorough investigation. Zelensky has also reportedly instructed the country’s prosecutor general to open criminal proceedings over the air crash, according to Reuters.  

The 737-800 is not a 737 Max, the type that regulators grounded worldwide in March after two fatal crashes in a span of five months, sending Boeing into its biggest crisis in its more than 100-year history.

Ukraine International Airlines received this 737-800 new in 2016, according to Flightradar24, a flight-tracking site. Flight 752 stopped transmitting location data about two minutes into the flight, it added.

In a phone interview with the heads of the Civil Aviation and Emergency Management in Iran, state TV reported that the crash site was in Shahriar, near Tehran. Emergency services said the fire at the crash site was so intense that they had to halt rescue efforts.

Ukraine International says it has 42 planes in its fleet and operates 1,110 flights a week. The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment and more information.

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