Iranian investigators 'trying to do the right thing' after Tehran plane crash: TSB chair
TORONTO -- Iranian investigators are “trying to do the right thing” by providing Canadian officials with more information than would typically be allowed under international protocols during the investigation into the downing of Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752, according to the chair of the Transportation Safety Board.
“What our investigators have said is that they believe the accident investigators from Iran are trying to do the right thing,” TSB Chair Kathy Fox said during an interview on CTV’s Power Play, adding that the Iranian teams have been “very helpful and co-operative.”
“They are definitely following the international protocols and they’re pursing different lines of inquiry to find out what happened on that tragic day.”
Fifty-seven Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed when an Iranian surface-to-air missile struck a Ukrainian aircraft over Tehran on Jan. 8.
Two Canadian air-crash investigators were deployed to Tehran. Fox said the investigators were given the opportunity to visit the crash site and view and examine the wreckage before travelling to Ukraine to meet with that country’s air accident investigation team.
“They’re not necessarily giving us all the information, but they’re certainly giving more than we’re technically entitled to,” Fox said.
Although the plane’s flight-data recorders remain in Iran, Fox said the TSB has been assured its investigators will be allowed to be present when the information is downloaded. However, it remains to be seen when and where that process may take place.
“We have been assured by the Iranian accident investigation bureau that we will have access,” she said.
“We will be able to be present during the download and analysis, we just don’t know where or when. But we do hope that’s soon, because it’s very important to get that information.”
TSB investigators are still fighting to play a bigger role in the probe, both to ensure the accuracy of the investigation and to improve transparency as questions of Iran’s trustworthiness linger.
“I think it would be beneficial for everybody if Canada -- given our expertise, our reputation for thorough and independent investigations -- could play a larger role in the investigation,” Fox said.
“I think that would help a lot to maybe give a better perception in terms of the potential transparency, openness, and thoroughness of the investigation.”
Fox noted that it remains to be seen what role Canada will play in the investigation after the flight-data information is downloaded.