A Ukrainian airplane carrying 176 passengers and crew crashed Wednesday shortly after takeoff from Tehran's main airport, state TV reported. An emergency official told state television that crash kills all onboard the commercial airliner.
The Boeing 737 had taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport. The crash is suspected to have been caused by mechanical issues, TV reported, without elaborating.
An investigation team was at the site of the crash in southwestern outskirts of Tehran, civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said.
Iranian media reports 147 passengers were Iranian citizens, but do not specify the nationality of other victims.
“After taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport, it crashed between Parand and Shahriar," Jafarzadeh said. “An investigation team from the national aviation department was dispatched to the location after the news was announced.”
Flight data from the airport showed a Ukrainian 737-800 flown by Ukraine International Airlines took off Wednesday morning, then stopped sending data almost immediately afterward, according to website FlightRadar24. The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces in retaliation for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The Boeing 737-800 is a very common single-aisle, twin-engine jetliner used for short to medium-range flights. Thousands of the planes are used by airlines around the world.
Introduced in the late 1990s, it is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for nearly 10 months following two deadly crashes.
A number of 737-800 aircraft have been involved in deadly accidents over the years.
Chicago-based Boeing Co. was "aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information,” spokesman Michael Friedman told The Associated Press.
Boeing, like other airline manufacturers, typically assists in crash investigations. However, that effort in this case could be affected by the U.S. sanctions campaign in place on Iran since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018.
According to a tweet by by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko there majority of the passengers were Iranian and Canadian.