A video circulating on social media and private chats in the messaging app Telegram appears to show the moment a surface-to-air missile struck a Ukrainian passenger jet near Tehran early Wednesday.
The video was verified by a New York Times investigative team on Thursday.
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Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 had just departed from the Iranian capital, bound for Kyiv. It crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all 176 people on board, including 63 Canadians.
US officials said on Thursday that the plane was most likely shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said that intelligence from “multiple sources” indicated the plane was shot down.
Pentagon officials told Newsweek that it was probably an accident, as Iranian defense systems were likely active at the time.
The Times said the video appeared to show the missile hitting the plane above Parand, Iran, where the signal from the plane’s transponder was last received.
There was a small explosion, but the plane remained flying for several minutes, The Times reported. That was consistent with statements from Iranian officials that the plane had tried to return to the airport before crashing.
The crash occurred shortly after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at US forces in Iraq in response to a US airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.
Iranian officials initially said the crash appeared to be due to a mechanical problem.