Ukrainian airplane crashes near Iran’s capital, killing 176

An investigation team was at the site of the crash in farmland near the Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, Iran. (Source: IRNA/CNN)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The Iranian military is disputing any suggestion that the Ukrainian airliner that crashed on the outskirts of Tehran was brought down by a missile.

All 176 people aboard the plane were killed Wednesday when it went down during a takeoff attempt from the Iranian capital’s main airport.

The disaster has touched off mourning in both Ukraine and Canada - where most of the victims were from or headed.

It took place hours after Iran launched its missile attack on U.S. forces.

Both Ukrainian and Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Ukraine’s foreign minister says Iranian, Canadian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Afghan, British and German nationals were among those killed in Wednesday’s crash.

The Boeing 737-800 is a very common jetliner used for short to medium-range flights, according to the Associated Press. It is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for nearly 10 months following two deadly crashes.

Commercial airlines are rerouting flights throughout the Middle East to avoid potential danger during heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

Jumbled schedules could effect as many as 15,000 passengers per day, lengthen flight times by an average of 30 to 90 minutes, and severely bruise the bottom line for airlines, industry analysts said.

There is anxiety that the conflict between the longtime foes could intensify following Iranian ballistic missile strikes Wednesday on two Iraqi bases that house US troops.

The attacks were retaliation for the US killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike near Baghdad last week.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.