Analysis from the black boxes of the Ukrainian passenger plane shot down by missiles reveals passengers would have been alive "for some time".
The 176 passengers and crew on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 may have all survived the first missile before they all later perished when the second struck, Iranian authorities revealed today.
The Boeing 737-800 was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile on January 8 this year.
An announcement today by the head of Iran 's Civil Aviation Organisation marks the first official report on the contents of the cockpit voice and data recordings which were sent to France for reading in July.
Touraj Dehghani-Zanganeh, the CEO of national airline Iran Air, told Iranian state TV: "Nineteen seconds after the first missile hit the plane, the voices of pilots inside the cockpit, indicated that the passengers were alive.
"Twenty-five seconds later the second missile hit the plane.”
Ukrainian investigators had previously said the pilots were killed instantly by shrapnel from the missile which exploded near the cockpit.
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"The data analysis from the blackboxes should not be politicised," former air force commander Dehghani-Zanganeh added.
Immediately after the crash, Iran's Road and Transportation Ministry released a statement saying the aircraft had burst into flames after a fire started in one of its engines.
It claimed the pilot lost control and crashed into the ground.
The following day, US intelligence and defence officials said evidence from reconnaissance satellite imagery and radar data suggested the airliner had been downed by an Iranian Tor missile.
Iranian authorities initially denied the US claims, describing them as "psychological warfare”.
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After three days of describing the missile report as "an American lie", "a wrongful scenario by CIA and the Pentagon", and "an attempt to prevent Boeing stock from a free fall”, Iranian forces admitted that ground forces had been responsible.
They confessed that in an atmosphere of heightened tensions after the US drone strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, misidentified the Boeing 737-8KV as an American warplane.
Iran has been in talks with Ukraine, Canada and other nations that had citizens aboard the downed plane, and who have demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.
Iranian and Ukrainian officials have held talks on the compensation to families of the victims. Another round of talks is set for October.
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