The Washington Post reported that Iranian officials said the plane likely crashed due to mechanical difficulties, but the outlet also reported that the Ukrainian embassy in Iran later took down a statement concurring with that assessment and ruling out terrorism.
The agency said it has information about 168 passengers who had checked in for the flight as well as nine crew members, putting the total estimated number of people on the plane at 177.
A Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Boeing 737-800 on the runway at Munich airport in 2016. The 737 Next Gen does not have the software investigators linked to the fatal 737 Max crashes.
"This was one of our best airplanes, it had a professional and wonderful staff", said Evgeny Dykhne the President of the airline at the press conference held in Kyiv today.
Flight tracker websites show the plane was scheduled to take off at 5.15am local time on Wednesday (12.45pm AEDT) but was delayed and took off at 6.15am (1.45pm AEDT).
Over the past year, Boeing Co. has suffered a series of technical failures with its newer-version 737 MAX aircraft.
"An investigation team from the national aviation department was dispatched to the location after the news was announced", spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh of the Iranian Aviation Organization said in a statement. The company is now clarifying the exact number of passengers.
The crash came hours after Iran launched tens of surface to surface missiles at Iraq's Ain Assad air base that houses United States troops.
Tensions are high in Iran at the moment after the military fired more than a dozen rockets at two military bases in Iraq, which house U.S. troops.
Pakistan has expressed condolences over the loss of precious lives in the Ukrainian Airlines plane crash, reports DND News Agency from Islamabad.
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