The Boeing 737-800 of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) crashed on the night of 7 to 8 January, shortly after the aircraft left the airport in the Iranian capital Tehran. A few days later it became clear that the plane had been accidentally brought down. An overview of the most important developments so far.

The device to the Ukrainian capital Kiev stops sending altitude and location data a few minutes after departure. It soon becomes clear why: the aircraft crashed about 15 kilometers from the airport. All 176 passengers perish.

The data collected by platforms such as Flightradar24 before the crash shows that the aircraft had a normal departure and climbed to around 1,500 meters. The device was last inspected according to UIA on January 6 and the crew was experienced.

Despite the tensions between the United States and Iran, which at the same time had reached a high point because of the American attack on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, an accident was initially assumed that morning.

On January 9, a day after the crash, Iran mentions in a first investigation report a technical defect as the cause. But that same evening it becomes clear that the plane was accidentally knocked down by Iranian anti-aircraft forces. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirms that there is evidence of a missile firing after US media has already reported this based on sources.

The aircraft crashed near the airport. (Photo: Getty Images)

Iran only acknowledges the cause of the plane crash after a few days

Iran calls the accusations primarily psychological warfare. It would be impossible for the plane to have shot out of the sky. However, the Iranian army acknowledged on January 11 that the aircraft had been accidentally brought down by human error. President Hassan Rouhani immediately apologized.

According to Iran, the accident could occur because the air defense operator wrongly signaled the Boeing as a cruise missile. At that time, air defense was in the highest state of alertness, as Iran had carried out retaliation on US targets in Iraq a few hours earlier.

Firing two short-range missiles actually required permission from a supervisor, but the operator had to make a quick decision because his means of communication had been lost. In the end, the wrong decision was made within ten seconds, an Iranian commander said.


The moment when Iran shot down Ukrainian plane

Investigation into plane crash still in progress

Although the most important question about the circumstances of Iran has been answered, the investigation is still ongoing. According to international rules, the responsibility for investigating the air disaster lies with Iran.

Iran has invited representatives from all countries whose civilians have died to conduct their own investigations. These are Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and the United Kingdom. These countries have joined forces after the accident to form an international response group.

Normally, the American Transport Safety Authority (NTSB) also plays a role in international investigations involving Boeings, but Iran must give permission for this.

Both black boxes and data recorders from the aircraft were found after the crash. Iran does not have the specialized reading equipment needed for the black boxes. It is not yet known to which country the black boxes and data recorders will be sent.

Commemoration of victims at the Kiev airport. (Photo: Reuters)