Canada PM Justin Trudeau vows Iran plane crash will be 'thoroughly investigated'

Bodies lie covered near the site of the crash on the outskirts of Teheran.
Bodies lie covered near the site of the crash on the outskirts of Teheran.PHOTO: NYTIMES

OTTAWA (AFP) - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday (Jan 8) that Ottawa would work to ensure a thorough investigation of a Ukrainian jetliner crash in Iran that killed dozens of Canadians.

"This morning, I join Canadians across the country who are shocked and saddened to see reports that a plane crash outside of Teheran, Iran, has claimed the lives of 176 people, including 63 Canadians," Trudeau said in a statement.

The airliner was carrying people from several countries when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Teheran on Wednesday, killing all 176 on board.

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), the ex-Soviet country's privately owned flag carrier, said flight PS752 left Tehran airport at 6.10am and disappeared from radars just two minutes later.

"Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that this crash is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians' questions are answered," Trudeau said.

According to Ukraine's foreign minister, 82 Iranians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons were on the plane in addition to the Canadians.

Eleven Ukrainians - including the nine crew - were also on board.

"Today, I assure all Canadians that their safety and security is our top priority. We also join with the other countries who are mourning the loss of citizens," Trudeau said.

Canada is home to a large Iranian diaspora and UIA offers relatively inexpensive flights between Toronto and Teheran, with a layover in Kiev.

The crash came with regional tensions heightened over the US killing of a top Iranian general, and shortly after Teheran launched missiles at bases in Iraq housing US troops.

There was no immediate indication of foul play and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned against speculating on the cause of the disaster.

Earlier in the day, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne called the crash "tragic news."

Trudeau said Champagne had been in touch with the government of Ukraine, and was speaking to "relevant authorities and to international partners."

He added that Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau was working with officials from Transport Canada and reaching out to international counterparts.

Search-and-rescue teams were combing through the smoking wreckage of the Boeing 737 flight, which slammed into farmland at Khalaj Abad, in Shahriar county, but officials said there was no hope of finding anyone alive.