Ukraine gets access to crashed plane's black boxes

Ukraine gets access to crashed plane's black boxes

Kiev sent around 50 experts to Iran to participate in the probe after Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 went down near Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board

A flight recorder, also known as a black box, purportedly recovered from the crashed Ukrainian airliner, Boeing 737-800. (Reuters Photo)

Ukrainian experts have gained access to the black box flight recorders of the Ukrainian plane that crashed in Iran, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said on Friday.

Kiev sent around 50 experts to Iran to participate in the probe after Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 went down near Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

"Our team has now got access to the black boxes," Prystaiko told a briefing.

Prystaiko said Ukraine sees "full cooperation" from Iran, adding Ukrainian experts have also got access to the plane's fragments and the crash site.

The plane crashed shortly after Iran launched missiles at US forces in Iraq in response to the killing of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike in Baghdad.

Prystaiko addressed reporters after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke by phone with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and after US officials handed Kiev "important" information about the crash.

American, British and Canadian officials say intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down the plane, perhaps unintentionally, but this has been denied by Tehran.

Zelensky said on Facebook that the possibility the plane had been shot down by a missile was not ruled out "but it has not yet been confirmed". 

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