0646 GMT February 25, 2020
Iran has acknowledged that its armed forces unintentionally fired anti-aircraft missiles at the jetliner that crashed after taking off from Tehran’s main airport earlier this month, killing all 176 people on board. Fifty-seven Canadians died and 138 of the passengers were headed to Canada, AP reported.
The accidental downing of the plane by the Iranian air defenses came hours after Iran responded to the American assassination on January 3 of one of its top generals by firing ballistic missiles at US bases in neighboring Iraq.
The Transportation Safety Board said in a statement it understands that the plane’s flight-data recorders – commonly known as black boxes – are still in Iran and said Iran is assessing options for their download and analysis, including doing it in Iran.
A preliminary report by the Civil Aviation Organization said Iranian officials had asked French and American authorities to send them “up-to-date equipment” to pull the data in Iran.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said it will deploy a second team of investigators to examine the recorders whenever and wherever that activity takes place.
Two other Canadian safety board investigators are heading back to Canada after six days in Tehran and two in Kiev. The investigators are still seeking a bigger role in the probe, but the TSB says Iranian authorities have been cooperative and helpful.
The government of Canada has said the boxes should be sent quickly for analysis by experts in either France or Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Security Council also said on Thursday it was awaiting a decision on whether Tehran will hand over black boxes of the Ukrainian airliner after an Iranian team presents its report to authorities in Tehran.
Iran’s Transportation Minister Mohammad Eslami said on Wednesday that the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recovered from the Boeing 737-800 had to be solely analyzed by the accident investigation team at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, according to Press TV.