Several hours after Iran fired 15 missiles into US operated military bases in Iraq, Ukrainian airline Flight PS752 crashed near Tehran mere minutes after taking off.
According to Iran, one of the engines exploded and the pilot lost control of the plane. However, though they showed them intact on state TV, Iranian authorities are refusing to hand over the blackboxes.
On the plane were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and three Britons. All perished.
While Canadian PM Justin Trudeau assured the crash would be “thoroughly investigated,” so far the causes put forth by experts have been conflicting.
Shot Down (Bullet Holes)
The Sun UK released an article last night quoting experts from the OPS Group, who the Sun described as experts in “aviation risk monitoring.”
OPS’s website, however, says nothing about aviation. They describe themselves as providing “tailored solutions for…international business and development projects in conflict.” In other words, they’re a glorified corporate PR firm.
According to these OPS “experts,” assuming the Ukrainian plane was shot down with bullets should be the conclusion until it is proven wrong — which is the opposite of how the scientific method is utilized.
“We would recommend the starting assumption to be that this was a shootdown event, similar to MH17 – until there is clear evidence to the contrary.”
The so-called experts at OPS point to photos of the wreckage which they believe show “projectile holes in the fuselage and a wing section.”
The Sun also quoted “aviation expert” Julian Bray, who stated, “this is catastrophic and not the type of crash that comes from an engine failing.”
While it may seem like the Sun is putting forward a compelling case here, it should be noted that Bray is a professional journalist who is hired by news agencies to give pure speculations.
His website advertises:
In live broadcast news assignments, there are often complete media news blackouts in the early stages of any incident, small or large.
YOU hire me to infill, professionally speculate and make sense of the developing story.
While Bray may know aviation as well as anybody else, which I can’t confirm or deny, he did not investigate the crash site and reasonably stated that “it was too early to say for sure what caused the crash.”
All in all, the Sun’s reporting on the flight being shot down with bullets seems to be nothing more than clickbait and narrative twisting.
The holes in the plane parts shown in the wreckage pictures can be easily explained by parts inside the engine flying out at fantastic speeds when it failed and exploded. To put it another way, bullets aren’t the only projectiles that leave holes in what they hit.
This, of course, doesn’t rule out a shootdown, but the evidence presented in the only piece claiming one certainly doesn’t pass the credibility test.
Other outlets are reporting on another theory — that the flight was brought down due to engine failure, just as Iranian authorities initially said.
While the plane was just three years old and had gone through an inspection — which it passed — days prior, and despite engine maker CFM slamming claims the crash was caused by their engine failing, international sources seem to agree at this point that failure was the case. (See update below).
Three American sources, along with one European and one Canadian, told Reuters the initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction.–Daily Mail UK.
The Canadian source, echoing the findings of Qassem Biniaz, a spokesman for Iran’s Road and Transportation authority, said the evidence thus far shows that the Ukrainian jet went down after one of the engines overheated.
Video footage released of the flight right before it crashed seems to show the plane in flames.
UPDATE (11:24 PT):
More evidence has come to light. It is now looking like neither engine failure nor bullets brought down the Ukrainian airliner as previously assumed.
According to newly emerging reports out of Canada and the US, officials now believed that Flight PS752 was brought down by a missile accidentally launched by Iran.
Newsweek is reporting that American officials have stated that “the plane was hit by a Russian-made anti-aircraft, surface-to-air missile system, known as Gauntlet.”
Pentagon sources told Newsweek the incident was accidental. The sources said that Iran’s system was likely active at the time due to the recent retaliatory missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq, which was a response to the American killing of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general revered by the country and it’s leader.
According to CBS:
U.S. intelligence picked up signals of a radar being turned on, sources told CBS News. U.S. satellites also detected two surface-to-air missile launches, which happened shortly before the plane exploded, CBS News was told.
This video allegedly shows the moment of impact:
As for the blackboxes, Iran officials are claiming them to be quite damaged and may be seeking help from international experts.
“If the available equipment is not enough to get the content,” Iranian officials will pass the boxes along to “experts from France or Canada,” said Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority head Ali Abedzadeh.
“Then whatever is the result will be published and publicized to the world.”
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