The head of the Transportation Safety Board says the Iranian government’s final report into the missile downing of a Ukrainian airliner loaded mostly with people headed to Canada doesn’t prove it was an accident. Kathy Fox said the report by Iran’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Board doesn’t say how investigators reached the conclusion that the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800 was “misidentified” as a hostile threat and shot down by two air-to-air missiles on Jan. 8, 2020. “To date, Iran has provided no evidence to support this scenario, but it is a plausible explanation of what happened,” Fox told a press conference. “In short, the report says what happened but it doesn’t answer the why.”
All 176 passengers and crew died when the aircraft fell out of control after taking off from Tehran. At least 138 of those had ties to Canada. Most were returning after a holiday visit to their homeland. Because of sanctions against Iran, there are no direct flights to North America and the Ukrainian flight to Kiev is a popular way to make connections to Canada and the U.S. The attack came at a particularly tense time as Iranian forces had just launched a retaliatory strike against U.S. forces for the assassination of a senior Iranian general. Iran first denied the military’s involvement but relented after overwhelming evidence to the contrary was published and claimed the incident was an accident.