World

Iran refuses to hand over black boxes of crashed Boeing to US

TEHERAN Iran's aviation authority said it would not hand over to Americans the recovered black boxes of a Boeing 737 that crashed yesterday, killing all 176 passengers and crew.

"We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans," Iran Civil Aviation Organisation head Ali Abedzadeh said, quoted by Mehr news agency.

"It's not yet clear which country the black box will go to for the investigation."

Following the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 shortly after take-off from Teheran yesterday, Iran said it had recovered the Boeing 737's two black boxes.

Mr Abedzadeh said based on global aviation rules, it was the right of the country where air crashes occur to carry out the investigation.

"This accident will be investigated by Iran's aviation organisation but the Ukrainians can also be present during the incident's investigation," he added.

According to experts, the countries capable of analysing black boxes are few - notably Britain, France, Germany and the US. France's accident investigation bureau said it had not yet received any request for help from the Iranian authorities afterthe crash.

The plane was heading to Kiev in Ukraine. Of the victims, 82 were from Iran, 63 were from Canada and 11 were from Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said.

The accident occurred as confrontation between Iran and the US threatens to trigger a wider conflict in the Middle East.

It was the carrier's first fatal accident, and it said it was doing everything possible to establish what had happened.

An amateur video, run by Iranian news agencies and purportedly of the crashed plane, showed a flash in the sky descending rapidly with comments that the aircraft was "on fire", followed by a larger flash as it appears to hit the ground.

- AFP, REUTERS

WORLD