Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran has announced the retrieval of some “analyzable” data from the black box of a Ukrainian passenger plane that was accidentally downed near Tehran in early January and left more than 170 people dead.
Touraj Dehqani Zanganeh said in an interview with Iran’s Fars News Agency on Sunday that following the incident, the plane’s black box was analyzed at the Civil Aviation Investigation Bureau in France and representatives from the US, Ukraine, France, Canada, Britain and Sweden — the countries whose citizens lost their lives in the crash — were present during the process.
Stressing that a representative from International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was also present to facilitate cooperation between the countries, Dehqani Zanganeh said, “The data was retrieved and turned into analyzable information.”
Elaborating on the data, the Iranian aviation official underlined that the Ukrainian passenger plane’s black boxes have only 19 seconds of conversation following the first explosion, though the second missile reached the plane 25 seconds later.
Dehqani Zanganeh argued that the first missile explosion had sent shrapnel into the plane, likely disrupting the plane’s recorders.
Pointing to the situation in the cockpit, the official said there were three crew members and one instructor there, all of whom were piloting the plane until the last minute due to unusual conditions.
“Given the fact that the cockpit was cut off 19 seconds after the explosion and the second missile was fired 25 seconds later and reached the aircraft, no analysis of the performance and effects of the second missile can be obtained from the aircraft’s black boxes because parts of the first missile and its impact on the plane caused the simultaneous disconnection of the CVR and FDR boxes within 19 seconds,” Dehqani Zanganeh noted.
The official said the retrieved information has been provided to the representatives of the relevant countries to submit their safety and technical analyses to the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization within the framework of ICAO standards.
Dehqani Zanganeh underlined that such measures are aimed at preventing similar incidents, and any political use of this process which could overshadow the investigation process.
With 167 passengers and nine crewmembers on board, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed outside Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on January 8, moments after take-off.
Iranian authorities acknowledged that the plane had been downed due to human error at a time when Iran’s air defenses were on high alert due to increased hostile American aerial activity in the aftermath of the US assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.