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Sunday, January 19, 2020

CAMBRIDGE CHRONICLE: Ukrainian plane crash, 176 dead: What we know so far

By Rock Island Today Reports | Jan 11, 2020


Cambridge Chronicle recently issued the following announcement.

Authorities have found the “black boxes” of the Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed into Iranian farmland on Wednesday just minutes after taking off from the main airport in the country’s capital of Tehran.

The plane carried 167 passengers and nine crew members from different nations. There were no survivors.

The “black boxes,” or flight data recorder, stores cockpit conversations and other data instrumental to the investigation.

Ukrainian authorities have offered to help with the investigation and are preparing a group of specialists to help with search operations, according to the country’s Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk.

The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers, however, both Ukrainian and Iranian officials gave no indication the two events are related.

As investigations into the plane crash continue, here’s what we know so far:

Who was on board the Ukrainian plane?

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, said in a tweet that there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians on board — the Ukrainian nationals included two passengers and the nine crew members. There were also 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals, according to his tweet.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky extended his condolences to the victims’ families. His office said he was cutting his visit to Oman short and returning to Kyiv because of the crash.

“Our task is to establish the cause of the crash of the Boeing and provide all necessary help to the families of the victims,” said parliament speaker, Dmytro Razumkov, in a Facebook statement.

How did the plane crash?

Qassem Biniaz, a spokesman for Iran’s Road and Transportation Ministry, said it appeared a fire struck one of the plane’s engines. The pilot of the aircraft then lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground, Biniaz said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Hassan Razaeifar, the head of the air crash investigation committee, said it appeared the pilot was unable to communicate with air-traffic controllers in Tehran in the last moments before the plane went down.

The plane, fully loaded with fuel for its 1,430-mile flight, slammed into farmland near the town of Shahedshahr on the outskirts of Tehran. Videos taken immediately after the crash show blazes lighting up the darkened fields before dawn.

When did it happen?

Although the crash came hours after the missile strike, both Ukrainian and Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the aircraft but have yet to confirm a cause.

The plane had been delayed from taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport by almost an hour. It departed from Tehran at 02:42UTC Wednesday but never made it above 8,000 feet in the air, according to data from the flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.

What kind of plane was it?

The plane was a 3½-year-old Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

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.

Chicago-based Boeing Co. published a statement on their website regarding the Ukrainian plane crash: “This is a tragic event and our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand by them in this difficult time. We are ready to assist in any way needed.”

A number of 737-800 aircraft have been involved in deadly accidents over the years, including two flights from Dubai, one in May 2010 that killed more than 150 people onboard and the other in March 2016 that killed 62.

The 737-800s have been the subject of inspections since last year after airlines started reporting cracks in a part that keeps wings attached to the fuselage. Boeing said in October that airlines around the world had inspected 810 planes following an order from U.S. safety regulators. Of those, 38 planes — or 5% — had needed repairs, Boeing said at the time.

This is not to be confused with the 737 MAX planes, which have been grounded worldwide since March 2019 following two fatal crashes in less than five months that killed 346 people.

Original source can be found here.

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