Iran plane crash: Video appears to show missile hitting plane mid-air

Video footage shared by online and verified by The New York Times appears to show the moment a missile hits what is believed to be doomed Ukrainian plane PS752.

On Wednesday, a Ukrainian plane crashed outside of the Iranian city of Tehran, killing all 176 people on board at the time. While the cause of the crash was initially believed to be a technical issue, United States officials suspect it was accidentally shot down.

The crash came just after Iran launched attacks against two Iraqi military complexes housing United States troops, sparking speculation Iran may have believed the Ukranian plane was a US aircraft coming to retaliate. 

The video shows an object hurtling through the sky before a large flash. A small light can then been seen on a downward trajectory. As the light goes out of sight, a loud noise can be heard. This could either be the plane hitting the ground, or the delayed sound of the missile hitting the plane.

Investigators Bellingcat says their "initial estimation" is that the video was filmed in a suburb of Tehran facing in the direction of the plane crash. The New York Times has verified the footage is real.

Bellingcat also says that buildings to the left of the camera were constructed after a September 2019 Google Earth satellite image.

The New York Times says the video shows the plane turning back to the airport after being hit, It then exploded and crashed into a field.

Images have also emerged of Tor anti-aircraft missile debris near the plane crash site. However, these images have not been verified. 

Of those killed in the attack, 63 of the dead were Canadians and 10 were Swedes.

On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface- to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional."

US President Donald Trump said had "suspicions" about what caused the crash, but denied US involvement in anything nefarious.

Iran has rejected the allegations a missile hit the plane.

"Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumours are illogical," said Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran’s of Civil Aviation Organisation.

Ukraine's embassy in the Middle Eastern nation initially ruled out terrorism or a rocket strike, before rescinding the statement and saying it was too early to draw conclusions about what brought the plane down, killing all on board.

A Ukrainian official said in a statement they are investigating numerous possible causes, including:

  • being hit by an anti-aircraft missile, "as information on the detection of fragments of a Russian missile near the crash site has already appeared on the internet"
  • a collision with a drone
  • terrorists detonating a bomb on board.

Two black boxes which could help in the investigation are currently being examined by Iran. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for the "truth" to be established and said he was determined to find who was "responsible for this terrible catastrophe".