Iran has just announced that they officially shot down the plane going to Ukraine by mistake according to a variety of sources and reports.
Iranian state TV, citing a military statement, says the country ‘unintentionally’ shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard.
The statement came Saturday morning, local time, and blamed ‘human error’ for shooting down the plane on Tuesday. The government also offered an apology to families.
The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. forces.
Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.
The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials.
On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that American lives were possibly saved after it issued a notice barring U.S. civilian planes from flying over Iran and Iraq.
The FAA confirmed to DailyMail.com on Friday that it published a ‘notice to airmen’ (NOTAM) warning of potential hazards along the flight routes in the area just three hours before the plane was shot down.
‘Our NOTAMs were published roughly three hours before the accident,’ a spokesperson for the FAA told Washington Free Beacon.
The notice specified ‘flight restrictions that prohibit US civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
‘The FAA will continue closely monitoring events in the Middle East,’ the NOTAM said.
‘We continue coordinating with our national security partners and sharing information with US air carriers and foreign civil aviation authorities.’
When the FAA was asked if the order saved American lives, an official from the agency said it would not ‘speculate on what effect [the notice] might have had.’
But one senior congressional official who is familiar with airlines issues said that the order ‘may well have saved American lives.’
‘Iran is not a normal country, and they regularly act in reckless and unprofessional ways,’ said the congressional source.
‘The FAA showed vigilance and competence in publishing the NOTAMs when they did, and they may well have saved American lives.’
The FAA’s ban remains in effect.
Iran cleared up the crash site where the passenger jet came down and before admitting its responsibility on Friday, said it wanted to handle the black box data itself.
The debris of the Boeing 737 has been removed from the crash site near Tehran before Ukrainian investigators have even arrived, sparking fears of a cover-up.
Tehran says it is ‘opening’ the flight recorders today but has indicated it will not allow the US government to analyze their contents.
Washington and its allies believe that the plane was shot down by two Iranian missiles which were launched just minutes after the airliner took off.
It was feared that Iranian forces may have mistaken the passenger plane for a military jet, hours after Iran launched missile strikes on US bases in Iraq. (source)