Ukraine to open criminal case following plane crash

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday instructed the country's attorney general to launch an investigation into Wednesday's deadly crash of a Ukraine International Airlines flight in Tehran, Iran's capital.

An investigative commission will be created with the participation of law enforcement and specialized agencies responsible for civil aviation, Zelensky said in a message posted on Facebook.

Zelensky also ordered an inspection of the entire civilian fleet of Ukraine's airlines and interrupted a visit to Oman to take personal control of the probe.

Vowing to explore all the possibilities, Zelensky added: Regardless of the conclusions about the causes of the disaster in Iran, the entire civilian fleet will be checked."

The Attorney General's Office confirmed it opened a criminal case for "violation of traffic safety rules or operation of air transport that caused the death of people."

"The purpose of the investigation is to establish the facts that led to the death, according to preliminary data, of 167 passengers and nine crew members," the office's press service said in a statement.

Nationals of seven countries were aboard, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vladimir Pristayko: 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British citizens.

The plane disappeared from the radar several minutes after takeoff. Iranian state news agency Fans blamed a technical malfunction for the crash, suggesting the engine was operable.

Both flight data recorders were found and transferred to the related authorities for review.

The plane was produced in 2016 and delivered to the airline company directly from the factory. It reportedly underwent technical maintenance and inspection just this week, on Monday.

World leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have offered their condolences to Ukraine and Iran over the crash.

Source: Philippines News Agency