Iran Shot Down a Ukrainian Passenger Plane. Here’s How it Happened. | Visual Investigations

Iran Shot Down a Ukrainian Passenger Plane. Here’s How it Happened. | Visual Investigations

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.

100 Replies to “Iran Shot Down a Ukrainian Passenger Plane. Here’s How it Happened. | Visual Investigations

  1. I’m one of the reporters that worked on this story. It was Tuesday night in New York when we learned that a plane had crashed near Tehran. Given the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, our team was on high alert. Just four hours earlier, Iran had launched ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq, in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed their a top military leader: Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

    In the early hours of such a horrific incident, our modus operandi is to collect as much material as possible, and then analyze it to answer one question: What happened? One of the main working theories was that there had been a mechanical failure, as was initially claimed by the Iranian authorities. But on Thursday, two days after the crash, we verified that a video we had obtained showed a missile hitting a plane around two miles from its last known transponder location. That changed the story. We’ve tried to condense all that information in the 4-minute video you’ve watched. You can always follow our most up-to-date work via Twitter, @trbrtc and @malachybrowne.

    A big part of these kind of investigations is based on what the community shares. Whether that is videos showing the incident as it happens, images from the crash site or your analysis of what we’re seeing on the footage — whether that’s expert knowledge or just an eagle-eyed, anonymous internet user. Thank you for that.

    You can watch more of our work on the Visual Investigations YouTube playlist, and subscribe to our channel for future investigations.

  2. You know this remember me of breaking bad airplane crash.. this accident was caused by multiple factors and has multiple culprits Iran firstly obviously. Anyway another bad bad war story between US and a country from another part of the world.

  3. Iran’s incompetence couldn’t tell the difference of a passenger plane or a military plane, shoots the plane down.

    Media: This is Trump’s fault!

  4. 3:58 broke my heart. Turns out it was the innocent people who were grinded in between a stupid war lead by dumb people in power.

  5. I'm very impressed by the unbiased professionalism in this report. Until now I haven't consumed anything produced by the nyt since 2016, after a lifetime of patronage

  6. The person who recorded this is 1:30 (there are others videos too) very suspicious!! It seems to be ready for this moment to be recorded. Also no normal reaction from camera man. Something deep is going on….

  7. Signal lost lost eh ? i guess you never know what could be the outcome of US electronic warfare and a dumb operator.

  8. you sure this was unintentional human error, cus I red somewhere the plane was shot twice, doesn't look unintentional to me.

  9. He got orders from top officials. They are going to use him as a scapegoat, go figure. It's time for an invasion and be rid of the regime.

  10. Seeing that plush unicorn/horse at the wreck site at 3:58, which looks very similar to my daughter's favorite "stuffy" as she calls it, is absolutely gut-wrenching. I mourn all 176 lost on board.

  11. Look these videos are great , but it is solely based on one video.
    You have to prove that the video is authentic , by which I mean it's meta data , geo location etcetera.
    If you can prove the location of this video and what it's filming to the exact longitude and latitude and topography etcetera then I will believe the video.
    And others should too , to many are not really questioning what they are seeing here .

  12. The Iranian regime is a terrorist organization that spreads terrorism and destruction and destabilizes international security.
    This terrorist regime must be punished.
     Shooting down a civilian plane is a terrorist crime against humanity

  13. The sad thing is ,when the passengers were still alive on the plane after it's hit by missile , they probably thought they were attacked by Americans and died with grudge

  14. Mankind have no commonsense, we have a lot of educated fools in charge of the world. Missiles and explosive device should be banned. We are going into WW3, these people are no more intelligence than bacteria.

  15. So the united nations not gonna say anything about this? The killed their own people. They should be held responsible regardless if their American or European. Who is going to take this action that this world needs? Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?

  16. Now THIS is exceptional journalism! I was wowed by the verification steps to come up with this. My opinion of the NYT is now highly favorable – a job well done!

  17. I dont see how the radar operators messed up. I am convinced the Rouhani government is happy Solemani is dead and that's the main reason Trump did this

    The IRGC and Quds forces were sabotaging the government's attempts at peace. There is a huge power struggle between the government and IRGC and Solemani was revered by the Ayatollah.

  18. At least Iran admit and apologise when they are wrong, why is there no video from the New York times on the Iranian passenger plane shot down by the US?

  19. The missile was a Russian Supplied TOR Surface-To-Air (SAM) Missile system. It is a short-Range to Medium Range System, NATO code name SA-15 Gauntlet.  The system is radar guided, by the mobile ground launcher equipped with radar.  The system usually operates as a grouped and linked system with multiple launchers and a command centre that can operate the system as part of a wider defence network and other larger radar systems.  The launcher can carry up to 8 missiles.  The missile can travel up to Mach 2.8 and is equipped with a 33 lb warhead.  Almost all SAM warheads are equipped with shaped shrapnel which is designed to explode in proximity to an aircraft or cruise missile such that the aircraft is lethally intercepted not by a missile, but by an expanding cone of thousands of hypersonic  penetrating metallic fragments which shred everything in an expanding cone.  It is unfortunately very likely a large part of the aircraft was impacted by many pieces of shrapnel.  The missile proximity warhead usually is programmed to detonate against the highest area of radar return.  In this case likely the fuselage area around the wings and fuselage junctions and engine areas.  It is likely that the cockpit and flight crew may have escaped the cone of fragments, and thus been able to control the aircraft for a short while.  However the fragments caused significant damage to the fuselage, flight control systems, and fuel tanks to start a fire.  It is tragic but likely that many of the passengers were killed by the shrapnel cone.  Much of the crash debris shows many small tiny holes which are shrapnel fragments.  (This is not written to make light of this terrible and tragic situation, and RIP to the victims and so sorry for the families).  However it was written to shed some light on the system responsible for the shoot down.  The system, however, has (trained) soldiers in charge.  It will be likely shown where in the command chain the order was given to launch.

  20. 3:58 this is what war looks like if we as citizens just sit back and do nothing. If we dont stand up and stop our idiotic government to stop another WAR before it starts. They'll be more desth along the way.

  21. those responsible for this tragedy should spend the rest of their lives in prison, the families of the victims deserve compensation for their loss

  22. First rule of thumb..shut down all commercial flights after sending out 20 missiles for 3 days……but no IRAN acted like its " just another day at the office" dumb zhits!

  23. Sad to say but they were victims of collateral damage, i mean, Iran just fired missiles at a US airbase in retaliation for US killing their general, so they're expecting a counter attack and on high alert after that.. What seems to be the problem is, why were they permitted to take off hours after iran military fired the missile at US.. I don't side to anyone and i do condemn anything that will hurt another human being but im saying the facts.. My condolences to the families of the victims


  25. The missiles probably only hit the engine through heat sensors and therefore caused the plane to catch fire but was still able to fly. The brave pilots options were to return to base and avoid areas of mass population should crash landing is imminent.

  26. 2:50 watch at slower speeds, just after the bright flash, there's a body flying in front of the other wreckage. Horrifying.

  27. This is so sad. Beyond words. Imagine the passengers all awake in the burning plane after the first missile strike. Then they saw another missile striking after the first one. Poor children, the newly wed young couples full of hopes and dreams. The pilot trying to save the plane from crashing by taking it back to the airport. The reason transponder stopped working was because it was disabled by first strike.

  28. There's now a newer video released that shows the plane was hit by 2 missiles. The second missiles was launched exactly 30 seconds after the first one.

  29. They shot it down on purpose hoping we(the us) would fire back at them and they could lay the blame on us for world sympathy.

  30. The people who indulge in absurd ''whataboutism'' and compare the event to the US downing of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988 over the Persian Gulf forget that the US government admitted to shooting down the plane within hours and subsequently paid a large compensation to the victims' (290 people) families. By contrast, the Iranians tried to shamefully cover up the event for a few days, lying to the international community. They're now cracking down on the protests and even jailed the person who filmed the missile strike.

  31. Am I the only one that caught on to this they said they shot down the plane because they thought it was an incoming cruise missile but too bad the jet was leaving the country heading the opposite direction they shot it down on purpose knowing exactly what they were doing! Jim Bob for president and you will see the world's biggest parking lot!

  32. Shows how much u know it was hit by two missiles the one hitting the plane in the video was the second one so it was going down already

  33. Let’s have more of this kind of journalism please – proper evidence-based investigative journalism. And much fewer opinion pieces on social justice issues. Thank you.

  34. One thing I don’t understand: air defense missiles are fired in volleys. Yet, we saw just 1 and only 1 missile launched, on a relatively slow moving target. Did the operator mistake the plane for a slow moving drone? The entire episode is tragic for the Iranian people – post the general’s elimination, Iran lost 40-50 people at his funeral, another 170 odd Iranians in the plane crash, just coming off of the brutal suppression of street protests where hundreds of Iranians were killed. Iranian government has to really introspect on where they are taking the nation.

  35. "I will never apologize for the United States—I don't care what the facts are." US President Ronald Reagan, after the 1988 US shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 people on board.

  36. 1988 US shoots down an Iranian passenger plane by accident thinking it was a fighter jet, 290 deaths.

    this is not new and could certainly be an accident and at the UN George Bush said it was merely "a wartime incident" and that the military "acted appropriately to the situation"


  37. 4 hours after some ballistic air strikes from Tehran into another country, you allow commercial flights to operate from Tehran Airport ??

  38. Victims of politics that they had nothing to do with… US and Iran are both responsible for creating the situation of this disaster. The airline is responsible for choosing to fly at all after the missile attacks on the military bases. Iran should be ashamed for ever denying the grievous error of crashing the plane, but also for not closing its air space. The military should be ashamed for allowing a technical error to occur, leading to the missile operator not being able to contact his superior to consult before launching the missile.
    American president Donald Trump should be ashamed for ever letting tensions reach to this point.

    In the end, a country killed 82 of its own inhabitants and almost 100 more of other countries. Nobody wanted this – absolutely nobody. It could have been avoided, but yet it still happened. It is shameful, and there are many parties to blame for this atrocity.

  39. Don't open a hidden bad door to America.
    Iran isn't alone .Americas foolishness actions can unite Muslim countries around the world.
    We are not like what you are thinking us.
    Please stop the endless ,foolishness war towards the Muslim countries or wait the last action. USA.

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