A new video, verified by The New York Times, shows that the Iranian military launched two missiles at the passenger jet in around 30 seconds. The plane, ablaze, continued flying for several minutes before crashing and killing all 176 people on board.CreditCredit…The New York Times
The New York Times has verified security camera footage on Tuesday that shows, for the first time, that two missiles hit Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan. 8. The missiles were launched from an Iranian military site around eight miles from the plane.
The new video fills a gap about why the plane’s transponder stopped working, seconds before it was hit by a second missile.
An earlier Times analysis confirmed what Iran later admitted: that an Iranian missile did strike the plane. The Times also established that the transponder stopped working before that missile hit the plane. The new video appears to confirm that an initial strike disabled the transponder, before the second strike, also seen in the video, around 23 seconds later.
Neither strike downed the plane immediately. The new video shows the airliner on fire, circling back toward Tehran’s international airport. Minutes later it exploded and crashed down, narrowly missing the village of Khalaj Abad, an earlier Times video reconstruction, below, shows.
Ukrainian Flight 752: How a Plane Came Down in 7 Minutes
Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.
We first learned that it was a missile that took down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran because of this video showing the moment of impact. All 176 people on board were killed. To find out what happened to Flight 752 after it left Tehran airport on Jan. 8, we collected flight data, analyzed witness videos and images of the crash site, to paint the clearest picture yet of that disastrous seven-minute flight. We’ll walk you through the evidence, minute by minute, from the plane’s takeoff to the moment it crashed. It’s the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 8. Iran has just launched ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani. Iranian defenses are on high alert, on guard for a possible U.S. attack. Four hours later, at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, Flight 752 operated by Ukraine International Airlines is getting ready for departure. At 6:12 a.m., the plane takes off. It follows its regular route, flies northwest and climbs to almost 8,000 feet in around three minutes, according to flight tracker data. Until now, the plane’s transponder has been signaling normally. But just before 6:15 a.m., it stops. We don’t yet know why. But we do know the plane keeps flying. And within 30 seconds, a missile hits it. A video filmed here captures the moment. Let’s watch it again and slow it down. Here’s the missile, and here’s the plane. Where did the missile come from? Just a few miles away are military sites equipped with Iranian defense systems. A nearby security camera films a missile being launched from one of those sites shortly after 6:15 a.m. The missile hits the plane seconds later. An Iranian military commander said a defense system operator mistook the passenger jet for a cruise missile. The missile sets the plane on fire. But the jet continues flying for several minutes. We don’t know its precise path after 6:15 a.m. But we do know that it turns back in the direction of the airport, engulfed by flames. Around 6:19 a.m., a bystander films the plane slowly going down. There appears to be a second explosion before the jetliner plummets outside Tehran about 10 miles from where the last signal was sent. Footage from a security camera shows the scene as the plane crashes toward it. Here we see the immediate aftermath of the crash. As day breaks, another witness films the smoldering wreckage. Debris is spread out over 1,500 feet along a small park, orchards and a soccer field, narrowly missing a nearby village. A large section of the plane looks badly charred. More jet parts are found here. And the plane’s tail and wheels land over 500 feet away. It is a gruesome scene. The passengers’ personal items — toys, clothes, photo albums — are scattered around. After days of denials, Iran took responsibility for the crash, blaming human error at a moment of heightened tensions.
Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.CreditCredit…Akbar Tavakoli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The Times has confirmed that the new video was filmed by a camera on the roof of a building near the village of Bidkaneh, four miles from an Iranian military site. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ airspace unit, said that missiles were launched from a base near there.
Iran’s military blamed human error for the strike, and said the plane had been misidentified as a cruise missile flying over Tehran. But the plane’s flight path would suggest otherwise. It was climbing at around 2,000 feet per minute on its ascent from the airport when the first missile was fired, according to a Times analysis of flight data.
Flight activity from Tehran’s international airport was normal on the morning of Jan. 8, the flight data showed, and Flight 752 followed its regular route. It was one of 19 planes that took off from Tehran in the hours after Iran launched missiles at military bases in Iraq housing American troops.
Flights In and Out of Tehran Continued After Missile Strikes and Plane Crash
Planes took off after Iran’s missile strikes on bases in Iraq, and even after a Ukrainian plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
The new video was uploaded to YouTube by an Iranian user around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
The date visible on the footage is “2019-10-17,” not Jan. 8, the day the plane was downed. We believe this is because the camera system is using a Persian calendar, not a Gregorian one. Jan. 8 converts to the 18th of Dey, the 10th month in the Persian calendar. Digitally that would display as 2019-10-18 in the video. One theory is that the discrepancy of one day can be explained by a difference between Persian and Gregorian leap years or months.
Haley Willis and Ainara Tiefenthäler contributed reporting.
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