• Tom Jordan

Iran sends PS572's black box to France for analysis

A Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737, similar to the one shot down in Ukraine. Photo by Max Sutter | AeroNewsX

After months of back-peddling and delays relating to the coronavirus lockdowns, the Government of Iran has today sent the black box of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, which was accidentally shot down by the Iranian military in January, to France for analysis.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was a scheduled passenger flight between Imam Khomeini International Airport, Tehran and Kyiv-Boryspil International Airport in Ukraine on the 8th of January 2020. The flight took off at 6:12 AM Tehran time, just before dawn and all appeared normal. However, just two minutes after take-off, the plane was seen exploding into a fireball by witnesses on the ground. Initially, the recovery of debris and investigation into the accident occurred as normal with the Iran Civil Aviation Organisation (CAOI) taking over responsibility for the process. The CAOI initially blamed the accident on technical issues without being able to produce any substantial evidence. However, suspicions began to arise within the general public and foreign governments due to the quick conclusion into the accidents cause, coupled with the fact that the crash occurred during a period of heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf region between the USA and Iran.

After intense international pressure by foreign nations, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted responsibility for the accidental shoot down of Flight 752, stating they erroneously identified the airliner as a hostile target. This announcement came after days of the Iranian military dismissing the claims of a possible airliner shoot down as "an attempt to prevent Boeing stock from a free fall." But despite the admission of guilt by the Iranian authorities, calls to hand over the black box flight recorders to the French BEA (Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile) who operate the closest black box reading equipment to the accident site have not been met by the Iranian Government until recent weeks.

Today, the 18th of July 2020, a huge break through in the investigation of Flight PS752's downing was made when Iran's Foreign Minister announced the black box flight recorders from the aircraft were transported to Paris by air on Friday and will be read on Monday by investigators at the BEA offices in Paris. This is a significant break through because French BEA investigators will now be able to construct an exact piece by piece timeline of the events leading up to the incident and listen to conversations from the flight deck in the moments leading up to the crash, as well as see how the Boeing 737s systems were functioning prior to the downing of the aircraft.

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