A video uploaded to social media on Thursday and verified by the New York Times appears to show a missile striking an aircraft near the location where a Ukrainian plane lost contact before crashing and killing everyone aboard on Wednesday.
The footage, first posted on Twitter by user Nariman Gharib, shows a fast-moving object soaring through the night sky before colliding with another object over Iran. The impact caused a loud explosion that could be heard from miles away.
The Times reported the video shows a missile hitting the Boeing 737 bound for Ukraine. A previous tweet from Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko said that 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals were on the aircraft.
Initial reports from the Iranian government claimed the crash was likely caused by mechanical difficulties, according to the Washington Post. But the timing of the tragedy was unusual, as it occurred just hours after the country launched missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops.
On Thursday, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization chief Ali Abedzadeh said the plane was “on fire” before the crash, BBC News reported.
The footage i've got from a source - the moment the missile hit the #Flight752. I can't verify the video yet! but please let me know if you find anything. I'm in contact with the person who send this video to see if I can get a version of video which has a meta data on it pic.twitter.com/HtesW5uecB— 🤖Nariman (@NarimanGharib) January 9, 2020
Abedzadeh reportedly added that the pilots had not made any distress calls before heading back to the airport.
“The plane, which was initially headed west to leave the airport zone, turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash,” Abedzadeh explained, the BBC reported.
U.S. officials questioned Iran’s position that the plane was downed by a mechanical failure and instead suggested that the flight may have been mistakenly shot down by an Iranian missile, multiple outlets reported Thursday.
The video verified by the Times appeared to corroborate this assessment.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also stated that data from multiple agencies seemed to confirm Iran’s part in the disaster.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence,” Trudeau said on Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The news will undoubtedly come as a further shock to the families who are already grieving in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.”
According to CBS News, U.S. satellites detected two surface-to-air missile launches that occurred shortly before the plane exploded. Missile components were apparently found near the location of the crash, a source who was inside an intelligence briefing told CBS News.
CNN reported that Iranian troops may have mistakenly believed they were under attack in the tense hours following their strike on the military bases. (Iran’s strike came after President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike in Iraq that killed the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Major General Qassem Soleimani.)
According to CBS News, Iran has refuted the allegations.