Iran report into plane shootdown 'doesn't answer why': Canada

Iran report into plane shootdown 'doesn't answer why': Canada
Iran's final report on the Ukrainian passenger jet it shot down last year fails to clarify why the incident occurred, Canada said on Thursday.
3 min read
The plane was shot down [Getty]
The chair of Canada's Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday that Iran's final report on the Ukrainian passenger jet it shot down last year fails to shed light on why it happened.

"The report says what happened, but it doesn't answer the why," TSB chair Kathy Fox told a news conference in Ottawa.

"We believe that the final report issued by Iran yesterday is incomplete," Fox added. "It raises more questions than it answers."

On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed shortly after take off from Iran's capital Tehran killing all 176 people aboard.

The Islamic republic admitted three days later that its forces mistakenly shot down the Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800 plane, after firing two missiles.

In a final report, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation (CAO) pointed to the missile strikes and the "alertness" of its troops on the ground amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States at the time.

Fox said this "falls short of answering many of the detailed questions about the underlying factors."

She also lamented a lack of detailed information about the Iranian military's role in the downing, and specificity of the safety actions it has taken to reduce the risk of a repeat occurence.

"We don't accept the premise that you can't delve into the military side to identify what happened," Fox said, citing previous shootdowns of a Korean jetliner by Russia and of an Iranian passenger aircraft by the United States in the 1980s that were fully investigated. 

"The lack of details means we can't confirm that these (new safety measures) will actually reduce the risks to civil aviation operations within Iran's airspace," she said.

Ukraine, which lost 11 citizens in the disaster, said Wednesday the report was "a cynical attempt to hide (the) true causes" of the tragedy, while Canada said it contained "no hard facts or evidence" and pledged to soon release the results of its own investigation.

The TSB does not usually comment on reports by other agencies, but did so in this case, Fox explained, because "the state whose military was implicated in the event led the investigation," and given that Canada lost 85 citizens and permanent residents in the crash. 

Iran gave the TSB access to its investigation, Fox noted, "but less than what we asked for."

She said, for example, two TSB investigators spent six days in Tehran visiting the accident site, examining the wreckage, and meeting with Iranian investigators.

Last July a TSB recorder specialist also attended the readout of the aircraft's flight recorders in Paris.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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