"I strongly urge everyone to refrain from speculating and making unproven hypotheses until the release of official information about the disaster."
The request was made by President Vladimir Zelenski of Ukraine after several speculations about the causes of the crash on a Ukraine International plane crashed on Wednesday morning shortly after taking off from Iran's Tehran International Airport. killing the 176 people on board.
Zelenski also ordered the opening of a criminal investigation to investigate the incident, considered the biggest air disaster in recent history of the country.
The Boeing 737-800 crash occurred hours after Iran fired ballistic missiles at US air bases in Iraq – in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, killed in an air strike ordered by US President Donald Trump in Baghdad.
This fact led to the emergence of various speculations about the cause of the incident.
For this reason, the authorities called for caution and confidence in the investigation, in which data from the aircraft's black boxes will be critical.
But after locating the black boxes, Iran has warned that it will not deliver the devices to Boeing or the US, the aircraft manufacturer's home country.
Why might this decision make it difficult to clarify what happened?
Ability to analyze black box
The black box records airplane activity and crew conversations. Therefore, your data is vital in the event of an accident to analyze what happened and establish the causes.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations of which Iran is a part, investigations into air accidents are the responsibility of the country in which they occurred.
However, it provides for the possibility for the country concerned to delegate all or part of the investigation to another nation, if agreed between them.
Aviation experts warn that only a few countries in the world have the technical capacity to properly analyze black boxes, such as the US and some European nations.
This was evident in the crash with a Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Ethiopia, in which 157 people died last year. At the time, Ethiopian Airlines confirmed that the country had no means of deciphering the information from the black box and that it would need to be sent abroad.
"We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer, to the Americans, and it is not yet clear to which country they will be sent for reading," said Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization.
Annex 13 to the ICAO International Civil Aviation Convention states that the country that manufactures the airplane involved in the accident "shall have the right to appoint a recognized representative to participate in the investigation".
"We are in touch with the client airline and will stay with them at this difficult time. We are ready to help as needed," Boeing said on Twitter.
However, given the escalating tension between Tehran and Washington, it is not known how much the US will participate in the investigation, nor who will lead the inquiry.
On the other hand, Abedzadeh announced that Ukraine, the country to which the crashed aircraft airline belongs, could participate in the investigation.
The Ukrainian president announced that a group of experts from his country would be sent to Tehran to provide field assistance and help identify the victims.
Asked by the BBC, air safety analyst Todd Curtis said the investigation should involve officials from Iran, Ukraine, the United States and France, the country to which the aircraft engine company belongs.
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, home country of 63 accident victims (although some may have dual nationality), said his country also hopes to participate in the investigation and offered technical assistance.
The investigation should clarify many unknowns about what happened to the Ukraine International plane.
The Iranian government ruled out that a missile was responsible for the tragedy.
"If the accident was caused by a missile attack, the plane would have exploded in the air," said Qasem Biniaz of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). .
"The fire in one part of the aircraft engine and the pilot's unsuccessful effort to control the aircraft resulted in its crash and the death of all passengers," he added, without providing further details about the technical failure hypothesis.
The Ukrainian embassy in Iran initially agreed that the cause of the crash was a problem with the aircraft engine and ruled that it was related to "terrorism".
However, hours later, it withdrew this statement from the site, ensuring it was based on preliminary information and that the causes of the incident are still unknown.
BBC journalist Tom Burridge, a transport expert, points out that the plane reached 2,400 meters after taking off from Tehran and suddenly stopping data transmission.
There is also no record that the pilot has contacted the control tower to report any emergency signals.
"This is unusual and suggests some kind of catastrophic incident aboard the plane, but at this stage we have no evidence to indicate what caused the incident," Burridge said.
According to air safety analyst Todd Curtis, "the plane was very fragmented, which means there was a heavy impact on the ground or something happened in the sky."
Recent Technical Inspection
Ukraine International Airlines, the airline of the crashed plane, ruled out that the crash was due to human error.
"The chances that the crew made a mistake are slim," said Evgeny Dykhne, president of the company, which belongs in part to tycoon Igor Kolomoisky, one of the richest men in Ukraine and very close to the president of the country.
Dykhne said the crashed plane, a three-year-old Boeing 737-800, was functioning properly and underwent a technical inspection two days before the crash.
The company, which had not reported fatal accidents since its inception in 1992, suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely after the Ukrainian government ordered all airlines in the country to cancel operations in Iran and its airspace.
Boeing, in turn, said it was following the news about the crash while collecting more information to clarify what happened.
The American aviation giant is plunged into a serious crisis after two accidents in less than five months with its top selling model, the 737 MAX.
In the two air disasters in question, which killed about 350 people in 2018 and 2019, the planes also crashed a few minutes after taking off from Ethiopia and Indonesia, respectively – and caused Boeing to stop manufacturing the model.
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