Two lucky souls who bought tickets for Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 from Tehran, Iran, to Kyiv ultimately didn't board the plane. Ukrainian officials say all 176 people aboard—including 63 Canadians—were killed when the plane crashed six miles from Imam Khomeini airport shortly after 6am local time Wednesday. Also on the Boeing 737-800 NG were 82 Iranians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons, three Germans, and two Ukrainian passengers, in addition to nine Ukrainian crew members, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said, per the BBC. Iran's head of emergency operations instead reported that 147 of the victims were Iranian, raising the possibility of dual nationalities. Airline officials tell the Guardian that most passengers were to travel on to other destinations from Kyiv.
A civil aviation spokesman tells the Guardian that the plane crashed five minutes after takeoff. "The pilot had no contact with the tower and didn't announce an emergency situation before the crash," the rep said. An initial statement from Ukraine's Tehran embassy blamed engine failure, per the BBC. The embassy later said "information on the causes of the plane crash is being clarified," per CNN. As video circulated showing a fireball in the sky, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned against "speculation or unchecked theories" before an official report. Several commercial airlines had rerouted flights to avoid Iranian and Iraqi airspace when the plane went down, hours after Iran attacked Iraqi bases housing US troops. "We express our condolences," Prystaiko said, per the Guardian. "The Ukrainian authorities continue to investigate." (Read more Iran stories.)