Three Britons are understood to have been onboard a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran on Wednesday morning (8 January).
Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko said more than 170 people were onboard Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) flight PS-752 when it came down south west of the Iranian capital en route to Kiev. The carrier has suspended flights to Tehran until further notice with immediate effect.
Both Ukraine’s embassy in Iran and Iran’s state broadcaster have said the aircraft suffered an engine failure, which resulted in the crash. Ukraine is preparing to send a team to investigate.
Prystaiko confirmed in a statement there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians (including all nine crew), 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons onboard the Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
Iran’s Red Crescent humanitarian society said there was no chance of finding any survivors.
UIA said the flight disappeared from radars a few minutes a few minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini (Tehran international) airport at 6.10am.
"According to preliminary data, there were 167 passengers and ninr crew members onboard," said UIA. "UIA representatives are currently clarifying the exact number of passengers onboard. Passenger lists will be posted on the airline’s website after final confirmation of their presence on board of the aircraft.
"The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims. With immediate effect, UIA has decided to suspend its flights to Tehran until further notice."
UIA confirmed the aircraft was a Boeing 737-800 NG model, built in 2016 and delivered to the airline direct from Boeing. It last underwent scheduled maintenance on Monday (6 January).
"[An] investigation will be conducted with the involvement of the aviation authorities of Ukraine, Iran, representatives of Boeing, the airline, and the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine," UIA added. "The airline will inform about the progress of the investigation and the causes of the tragic event as soon as they are identified."
The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice following the incident, stating: "On 8 January, a Ukrainian Airlines flight crashed shortly after take-off from Imam Khomeini International airport in Tehran, reportedly due to technical problems. The airport is now operating normally."
A spokesperson said: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight."
They added the FCO was seeking urgent confirmation of how many British nationals were onboard the aircraft and would support any families affected.
The crash is not believed to be linked to growing tensions between the US and Iran after a top Iranian general was killed in a US airstrike on Friday (3 January).
Iran responded on Wednesday morning by launching missile attacks on two Iraqi military facilities where US personnel were stationed.