Pilots of a Ukraine International Airlines plane that crashed shortly after its takeoff from Tehran Airport Wednesday reportedly tried to turn the plane for the airport of departure when it hit the ground, that's according to a preliminary report of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran.
The report says that, after taking off, a sudden technical issue emerged, due to which the plane turned back toward the airport. At the same time, the pilots did not report any problems to the tower, CAOI experts say.
Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Ali Abedzadeh, citing eyewitness accounts, said the Ukrainian plane caught fire in midair before plunging to the ground, Kommersant reports.
The report also confirmed that both of the so-called "black box" flight recorders that contain data and cockpit communications from the plane had been recovered, though they had been damaged and some parts of their memory were lost. It also said that investigators have initially ruled out laser or electromagnetic interference as causing the crash, according to the Associated Press.
A preliminary report was submitted to Ukraine, which owns the aircraft, the United States (the manufacturing country of Boeing), as well as Canada and Sweden, whose citizens were on board.
Iranian authorities previously ruled out a missile hit. Local airport authorities alleged engine fire as the cause of the crash. Reuters sources said that, according to Western intelligence, the plane crashed as a result of a technical malfunction. Meanwhile, Ukraine began its own probe into the crash.
Ukrainian officials, for their part, initially agreed with Iranian suspicions that the plane, manufactured in 2016, was brought down by mechanical trouble but later backed away from that and declined to offer a cause while the investigation is going on.
President Volodymyr Zelensky in his address to the nation has called on everyone to refrain from spreading conspiracy theories regarding the cause of the crash.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the United States banned civil aviation flights over Iran, Iraq, the Persian and Oman gulfs. Several European carriers also suspended operations in said territories.
Ukraine's Aviation Administration banned all Ukrainian carriers' flights in Iranian airspace pending the investigation.