Iranian Red Crescent Society photo

Black Box Reveals Pilots and Passengers on Jet Shot Down in Iran Were Alive After First Strike

On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down near Tehran, Iran, killing all 176 people on board.

Now, a black box recorder recovered from the crash site of the passenger jet has revealed a conversation in the cockpit following the first missile strike, indicating that pilots and passengers were alive before a second missile hit 25 seconds later.

Iran initially denied responsibility for the incident, but later admitted it had shot down the Boeing 737 “unintentionally”, and said it was a “disastrous mistake” by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

55 of the 176 who died were Canadian, and Canada has issued a statement regarding the data recovered from the black box recorder.

“This preliminary report only provides limited and selected information regarding this tragic event. The report only mentions what transpired after the first missile strike but not the second and only confirms information that we already know,” the statement reads.

Canada wants Iran to provide an answer to important questions including why the missiles were launched in the first place and why the air space was open. “These are the questions that Canada, Canadians and most importantly, the families of the innocent victims need answered.”

Canada continues to call on Iran to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation, adding it expects Iran “to live up to its commitment and the ICAO standards set out in Annex 13.” 

Annex 13 contains the international standards and recommended practices for aircraft accident and incident investigation.

Iran’s report on the data recovered from the black box said that the aircraft had been “in a normal flight corridor” before the first missile exploded, sending shrapnel into the aircraft.

At a press conference on August 23, the head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, said “up to 19 seconds” of conversation between two pilots and a pilot instructor had been captured in the aircraft’s cabin after the first missile struck and that the second missile hit the jet 25 seconds later. 

No details of the cockpit conversation have been disclosed.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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