Flight UIA PS752 was shot down due to human error
In a intermediate report, The Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran considers that a “human error” was the main cause that led to the downing of the Boeing 737 Ukraine International Airlines, flight PS752. Specifically, human error was the basis for the installation of a radar, which activated Tehran's defense system.
The four links of a tragic chain
On January 8, 2020, a Boeing 737 Ukraine International Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran International Airport (IKA), Iran, killing all 176 people on board. The aircraft had been shot down by two missiles fired by the Iranian army.
Human errors at the root of the accident in Iran
The preliminary report, published on July 11, 2020, identified four key elements that formed the basis of the tragic plane crash.
According to investigators, the incorrect setting of a missile system was the basis of unfortunate events. By human error, an error of 107 degrees in the system was induced. Thus, Tehran's defense mechanism was triggered when the aircraft on flight PS752 took off, misinterpreting the flight path. The missile system considered it a threat to the city, not a safe way out.
A few hours before the crash, the Iranian army launched more than 12 missiles at US bases in Iraq in retaliation for the death of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's special services.
Given that missile defense systems were on alert around Tehran, the operator considered the flight path to be threatening. The lack of radar could explain the fact that in the days following the accident, the army reported that the aircraft had deviated from its course and was approaching the missile base near Malard.
The operator of the defense unit decided to fire without the approval of the commission from the Center
The operator tried to report the presence of an aircraft following an aggressive trajectory to the Coordination Center. But an unspecified defect prevented the provision of information.
Even if the radar was misaligned, the air defense operator was able to identify PS752 as a passenger flight and not a fighter jet, but failed to do so, the report said.
The last and fatal mistake identified by investigators was the operator's decision to drop a rocket, despite not having contact with the Coordination Center. Normally, if there is no contact with the Center, the operator is not authorized to fire.
The preliminary report established that the first missile fired at the plane was the fatal one. The second missile fired did not reach its target, information confirmed even by Tehran's defense system.
After being hit, the Boeing 737 turned right and crashed into a residential area, disintegrating over a considerable area. All the occupants of the aircraft, 176 in number, lost their lives.