Justin Trudeau Said The Ukrainian Plane That Crashed In Iran Was Shot Down By A Missile
"The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
A Ukrainian jet that crashed Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a missile attack on US troops based in Iraq, was brought down by an Iranian missile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.
"What happened yesterday was a tragedy, a tragedy that shocked not only Canada but the world," Trudeau told reporters at a press conference revealing findings from Canadian officials. "The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile."
The government of Iran initially blamed the deadly crash, which killed all 176 people on board, on engine failure, but US and Canadian officials had since suggested that the plane could have been hit by a missile before crashing down in Iran.
Trudeau noted that although the plane appeared to have been shot down by a missile, it "may well have been unintentional."
When asked about the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Thursday morning, President Donald Trump said "somebody could have made a mistake."
"It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood," the president said.
Asked whether the crash could have been caused by mechanical failure, Trump told reporters, "I personally don't even think that's even a question."
Hours later, Trudeau said the Canadian government had reached out to Ukrainian officials regarding the crash, and Canadian investigators were looking to be part of the inquiry into the moments before the jet crashed.
"In light of this new information it is now more important than ever that we know how such a tragedy could have happened," Trudeau said. "The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers."
Sixty-three Canadian nationals were on board the fatal Ukrainian flight.
Hours after Trudeau's comments, Canada's Transportation Safety Board announced they had been invited by Iran's Aircraft Investigation Bureau of the Islamic Republic to visit the accident site.
The US's National Transportation Safety Board said they were formally notified of the crash by Iranian authorities and had designated "an accredited representative" to the crash.
The flight crashed just hours after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house US troops, an attack made in retribution for the US drone strike that killed Iran's Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The timing of the jet's crash immediately raised questions regarding whether the missile strike and the deadly crash might have been connected.
On Thursday, the New York Times obtained video that appeared to show a missile striking a plane near Tehran's airport, where the Ukrainian jet stopped transmitting a signal moments before coming down.
The video appears to show an explosion in the dark sky.
Despite Iran's earlier statements attributing the crash to a mechanical failure, Trudeau said Canadian officials were looking to be part of a "complete and credible" investigation.
On Thursday, the spokesman for Imam Khomeini Airport told BuzzFeed News officials in Iran still considered the crash "a technical malfunction" and not the result of a missile strike.
"I am very sad and saddened by the occurrence of this incident and hope that the families of the disaster victims will be calm," Ali Kashani, head of the airport's public relations office, told BuzzFeed News in a message. "And then of course this accident was not a military case and it was very likely a technical malfunction but we have to wait for the Disaster Investigation Committee to respond."
Trudeau did not say whether Canadian investigators had been in contact with Iranian officials, but said he had spoken with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky said Iran had promised that Ukrainian investigators would get access to jet's black boxes, though Iranian officials have insisted that the boxes remain in Iran.
Trudeau was also asked whether the US, which had prompted the Iranian missile attack after the drone strike that killed Soleimani, bore any responsibility in the crash.
The prime minister said that would be "one of the questions that people will be thinking about" during the investigation.