14 Jan 2020 14:46

Black boxes of Boeing downed in Iran may be handed over to Ukraine - UIA president

KYIV. Jan 14 (Interfax) - Iran may hand over black boxes of the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight that crashed near Tehran to Kyiv, UIA President Yevhen Dykhne said.

"The probability of their decoding in Ukraine is much higher today. The Iranian side no longer needs to hide anything. They have realized that facts obtained by the commission would prevent them from concealing anything, so they have taken another stand of transparency and assistance in establishing the real picture. I think they are likely to hand over the black boxes to Ukraine," Dykhne said in an interview with the online media outlet LB.UA.

At first, Iran refused to hand over black boxes of the downed UIA flight to the plane's U.S. manufacturer Boeing. The presidents of Ukraine and France, Volodymyr Zelensky and Emmanuel Macron, later agreed to engage French specialists in decoding information from the flight data recorders.

According to Dykhne, decoding of the black boxes will not drastically change the general picture of the plane crash. "There are plenty of factors supporting the acknowledged version of the event," he said.

On January 11, Zelensky announced the beginning of the joint decoding of the black boxes with Iran and assured everyone that Ukraine would give financial support to the victims' families and would help them receive indemnities from Tehran, the airline, and insurance companies.

Zelensky additionally said he had agreed with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on starting joint decoding of information from two flight data recorders of the crashed plane.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office opened a criminal case on counts of murder of Ukrainian citizens.

The president promised Ukrainians that he would repatriate all crash victims so that their families and friends could say a proper goodbye.

UIA's Boeing 737-800 performing flight PS752 from Tehran to Kyiv crashed in the vicinity of Imam Khomeini International Airport soon after taking off early in the morning on January 8. None of the 167 passengers and nine crewmembers survived the crash. The casualties included 11 Ukrainian citizens (including nine crewmembers), 82 citizens of Iran, 63 of Canada, ten of Sweden, four of Afghanistan, and three citizens each of Germany and the UK.

The Iranian media said in the early hours of Saturday that Iranian air defense downed the Boeing by mistake. Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Aerospace Forces Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the plane was confused for a cruise missile and the air defense operator, who was lacking communication with the command, made the wrong decision and fired a missile at the plane.