"Human error". Iranian Civil Aviation report finds "key element" behind Ukrainian Boeing plane crash on January 8 near Tehran that killed 176 people is the wrong way to set a military radar followed by other malfunctions.
That night, the Islamic Republic's air defenses were on high alert for fear of an American attack. Iran had just attacked a base used by the American army in Iraq in response to the elimination a few days earlier, in an American strike in Baghdad, of General Qassem Soleimani, architect of the regional strategy of Iran. Iran, and expected a replica from Washington.
Under these conditions, following the replacement of a Tehran air defense unit, "there was a failure due to human error in the follow-up of the procedure" for calibrating a radar system, writes the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) in a report posted online Saturday evening on its website. According to the document, this induced a "107 degree error" in the system used by the unit, no longer allowing to correctly apprehend the trajectory of objects in its field.
A dangerous chain of events
This initial fault "is at the origin of a dangerous chain (of events) which of course could have been mastered if other measures had been taken", writes the CAD. But according to his document, presented as a "report on the facts" and not as the final report of the investigation, other errors took place in the minutes that followed. Civil Aviation thus notes a defect in the transmission to the coordination center of defense units of data on the target identified by the radar. The CAD notes that despite the erroneous information available to him about the trajectory of the aircraft, the operator of the radar system could have identified his target as an airliner, but on the contrary, he was wrong in the analysis and there was "misidentification".
VIDEO. Boeing shot down in Iran: video shows second missile
Ukraine International Airlines (UAI) flight PS-752 from Tehran to Kiev was shot down on January 8 by two missiles. The report notes that the first of the two missiles fired at the plane was fired by the operator of a defense battery "without having received a response from the coordination center" on which he depended. The second missile was fired thirty seconds later, taking into account "the continuity of the trajectory of the detected target," the report added.
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The 176 people on board the aircraft, a Boeing 737, mostly Iranians and Canadians, but also 11 Ukrainians (including the nine crew members) perished. Tragedy met with strong reprobation in Iran, especially after it took three days for the armed forces to admit that they shot down the plane "by mistake" after a missile battery operator mistook it for a missile .