Iran's Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) chief Ali Abedzadeh said on Friday that the Ukrainian plane that recently crashed in Iran had not been hit by a missile, despite such claims from the West, due to preliminary evidence the investigation committee had gathered, ONA reports citing Sputnik.
"If the plane had been hit by a missile, the area, in which its pieces were scattered, would be very large, but all parts were in the one place", CAO chief Ali Abedzadeh said.
He added that the investigation team was still waiting for information from the aircraft's black box.
Abedzadeh also said that the pilot of the aircraft had called the control tower prior to turning back to the airport but that the engine caught fire in midair and the plane crashed about two minutes later.
Boeing 737 crashed on Wednesday near Tehran, shortly after takeoff, killing all 176 people on board. The accident took place minutes after Iran's missile attack on US bases in Iraq. Tehran blamed a technical malfunction while the US, UK and Canadian authorities said they had obtained video evidence of a missile being fired at the aircraft from Iran.