The Boeing 737 passenger jet operated by Ukraine International Airlines that crashed minutes after takeoff from Tehran Wednesday morning, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board, was mistakenly shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile following Iran's attack on U.S. bases, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The officials said they could not know for sure Iran's intent, but pointed to a likely "fog of war" error in which the commercial airliner was mistaken for a threat.
Video captured of the plummeting plane showed the aircraft on fire before crashing into the ground and exploding:
The jet crashed minutes after takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran. Iranian officials immediately placed the blame on a technical failure and have refused to turn the black boxes over to Boeing for inspection. Aviation experts have previously said that crash photos seem to indicate a "shootdown event."
The 176 victims included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.
Pictures from the crash scene showed total destruction:
"It's a tragic thing when I see that. It's a tragic thing. But somebody could've made a mistake on the other side. It was flying at a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could've made a mistake. Some people say it was mechanical — I personally don't think that's even a question."