“Human error”: in Iran’s report on Ukrainian plane crash | Aviation News

Tehran, Iran – The Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) on Wednesday released its final report on the destruction of a Ukraine Airlines flight last year, which was quickly condemned by Ukraine and Canada.

In the lengthy technical report, the organization confirmed earlier statements by Iranian authorities that flight PS752 was shot down by two missiles and caused by “human error” while operating a surface-to-air defense system. .

The plane was shot down from the sky by an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aerial battery on January 8, 2020, while on high alert after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles on US military bases in neighboring Iraq to avenge the assassination. of his superior general, Qassem Soleimani.

The CAO said its report aimed to be “impartial” in an effort to prevent similar tragedies from happening again in the future, and did not wish to assign blame.

As Iranian officials have said before, the report noted that it was drafted after soliciting comments from the countries involved, including Ukraine.

Hours after the report was published, however, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called it a “cynical attempt to hide the real reasons for our plane’s crash.”

“We will not allow Iran to hide the truth, we will not allow it to escape responsibility for this crime,” Kuleba said.

People attend a memorial for the victims at Boryspil International Airport outside Kyev, Ukraine [File: Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Iranian officials recently announced that an effort to prosecute the suspects in the case – who remain unknown to the public – is on track after a military court investigation, and face-to-face trials will soon take place.

In January, the Iranian government set compensation at $ 150,000 for each of the families of the 176 victims, many of whom were dual Canadian.

Iran has made “no attempt to answer critical questions about what really happened,” Canadian officials said of the report on Wednesday.

“It appears incomplete and contains neither facts nor hard evidence,” Foreign Minister Marc Garneau and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a report. declaration.

Why two missiles?

It took three days for Iranian officials to publicly announce that the plane had been shot down by missiles. No official has resigned or been fired as a result of the incident.

According to the CAO report, the surface-to-air missile defense system was a Russian-made TOR M-1 – known as the SA-15 Gauntlet by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The air defense system shot down the plane just six minutes after taking off from Tehran airport.

Since the missile battery had been moved about 100 meters (30 feet) before the shooting, its true north had to be recalibrated, according to the report. But it wasn’t and so it was running with a 105 degree error when it was launched.

The operator therefore thought that the civilian plane was a “hostile object” coming from another direction towards Tehran, without realizing that it was a passenger plane which had just taken off from the international airport. Imam Khomeini.

The operator reportedly relayed a message to the order, which was not recorded for reasons not specified in the CAO report.

It was at this point that the operator fired the first missile, which, according to the CAO report, exploded in the immediate vicinity of the airliner, inflicting heavy damage, releasing shrapnel and causing explosions. fires around the cockpit to the left of the aircraft.

The first missile also allegedly damaged the aircraft’s two flight recorders, which is why decoding them after the crash took months and the cooperation of Ukraine and an expert laboratory in France, the report said.

With the aircraft still in flight and in flight, the operator fired another missile approximately 40 seconds later. The Civil Aviation Organization said evidence shows the second missile may have exploded about 900 meters (300 feet) from the plane and may not have caused damage.

The three crew members at the controls of the plane were still aware after the first missile hit and were trying to control the situation, he said, but catastrophic damage eventually led to the plane crashing.

Why has the sky not been cleared?

One of the main unanswered questions since the commercial plane’s crash is why it was allowed to fly overnight, as Iran expected a potential retaliatory attack from the forces American. after its missile strikes in Iraq.

According to the CAO report, the Iranian armed forces had anticipated the dangers and devised a strategy.

They reportedly halted all flights to neighboring Iraq, where rocket attacks were carried out, and canceled all flights planned to overfly the western parts of the country close to Iraq.

Flights taking off from non-commercial airports have also been identified as being at risk.

However, “the risk of being targeted due to misidentification for commercial airplanes taking off from commercial airports was found to be lower,” and the risk for flights departing from Imam Khomeini Airport was assessed as “very low”, according to the report.

“Ultimately, it can be concluded that the assessed risk was not commensurate with existing realities and that an error that was not previously calculated in the forecast occurred,” says the CAO report.

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