KEY POINTS

  • The plane went down shortly after taking off from Tehran on a flight to Ukraine
  • All 176 passengers and crew died
  • Iran said the plane had turned around and was headed back to the airport when it crashed

Update 3:25 p.m. EST

The New York Times said it verified video purportedly showing missiles kitting the Ukrainian jet that crashed early Wednesday near Tehran.

Original story

U.S. officials said Thursday Iran shot down a Ukrainian jet that crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran likely was brought down by two Russian-made missiles.

Ukraine International Airlines 752 took off at 6:12 a.m. Wednesday on a flight to Kyiv and was flying at 8,000 feet when it apparently burst into flames and crashed the town of Shahedshahr. Al 176 passengers and crew were killed.

The crash came just hours after Iran fired a barrage of missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.

Iran blamed the crash on a mechanical issue, an assertion rejected by President Trump.

"It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood and someone could have made a mistake," Trump said, adding, “Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question, personally.”

U.S. satellites detected the launch of two surface-to-air missiles shortly before the plane exploded. Missile components were found near the crash site, CBS reported, quoting sources.

Iran launched its missile barrage in retaliation for a targeted drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.Iranian investigators said the crew never made a call for help.

Newsweek reported the downing was accidental.

Witnesses said the plane was engulfed in flames and there was a massive explosion once it struck the ground. The plane's black boxes were recovered but described as damaged, possibly indicating memory losses.

“A strike by a missile, possibly a Tor missile system, is among the main [theories], as information has surfaced on the internet about elements of a missile being found near the site of the crash,” said Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council. Ukrainian investigators were in Iran.

Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1s to Iran in 2007.

The Iranian military has denied the plane was downed by a missile, calling the allegation "psychological warfare" by opposition groups.

The doomed, 3-year-old plane, which had undergone maintenance Monday, was carrying 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, including nine crew members, 10 Swedes, seven Afghanis and three Germans.

Canadian Foreign Minister Francoise-Philippe Champagne urged Iran to allow Canadian investigators to help with identification with the dead.

“Canada and Canadians have many questions which will need to be answered,” he said.

A Russian missile downed a Malaysian jet over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 people.