OTTAWA — The Transportation Safety Board, Canada’s air-safety investigator, says it will comment this morning on a report from Iran on the downing of a passenger jet by its military in January 2020.
The final report from Iran’s civil aviation body blames “human error” as the reason why the Revolutionary Guard shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 minutes after it took off from Tehran on Jan. 8 last year.
Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization says an operator fired two surface-to-air missiles after misidentifying the Boeing 737-800 as a “hostile target” and despite not getting a green light from superiors, per procedure.
The Canadian government has rejected the report outright, describing it as “incomplete” and devoid of “hard facts or evidence.”
A group representing families of the victims also dismissed the report findings as riddled with inconsistencies and “fabrications” that are “grossly inadequate” to explain the shootdown.
All 176 people on board the jetliner were killed, including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and dozens of others bound for Canada.
The safety board’s press conference is slated for 9:30 a.m.
Iran initially denied responsibility for the crash, but three days later said the Kyiv-bound aircraft was shot down by accident after being mistaken for a missile amid heightened tensions with the United States. The admission came after video footage on social media appeared to show at least one missile striking the jet.
The disaster unfolded hours after Iran launched missiles into Iraq at two American military bases in retaliation for the U.S. having killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani near the Baghdad airport by order of then-U.S. president Donald Trump.
Ralph Goodale, the former Liberal public safety minister who was named Canada’s special adviser on the response to the crash, called the report unconvincing, “shambolic” and “insulting” to loved ones.
Britain, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Sweden also lost citizens when the plane was destroyed, and the countries formed a coalition with Canada to deal with Iran, demanding reparations and a more transparent report.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2021.