Western intelligence agencies see no sign Ukraine airliner was shot down: Canadian source

Remote video URL
Relatives of crew members aboard the Ukranian jet mourn at a memorial at Boryspil international airport outside Kiev. PHOTO: REUTERS

OTTAWA (REUTERS) - The initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies is that a Ukrainian airliner which crashed in Iran on Wednesday (Jan 8) was not brought down by a missile, said a Canadian security source.

The source, who declined to be identified, said the agencies believed the Boeing 737 plane had suffered a technical malfunction.

The Ukraine International Airline jet crashed shortly after take-off from Teheran, killing all 176 people on board.

The disaster occurred shortly after Iran launched a series of missile attacks against two military bases in Iraq that housed US troops.

"The initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies is that the plane was not brought down by a missile. There is no evidence to suggest that," said the source.

The agencies believe the most likely cause of the crash was a malfunction, the source added, saying there was some evidence one of the plane's engines had overheated.

Boeing said it had no additional comment.

Earlier, the company said it was in contact with the airline and was ready to assist.

In July 2014, a Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine during a rebellion by Russian-backed separatists, killing all 298 people on board.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.