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Claim plane was accidentally shot down won't be taken at 'face value': TSB
OTTAWA -- There is "no doubt" that the Ukrainian plane that crashed in Tehran, killing all of its 176 passengers, was brought down by a surface-to-air missile, according to the chair of Canada's Transportation Safety Board.
What remains to be seen, according to Kathy Fox, is whether the aircraft was shot down on purpose.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Fox confirmed that Iran’s admission that a surface-to-air missile brought down the plane was accurate.
"Certainly, all the evidence suggests that. The issue about whether it was accidental or intentional, that is something that investigators would normally pursue," said TSB Chair Kathy Fox.
Despite Iran's contention that it was an accident, Fox said the investigators are keeping every option on the table.
"We don't take that just at face value. We need to corroborate that, validate that information through other means," Fox said.
She said the investigators need to determine whether it was an accident or not through an investigation of the sequence of events. In the case that it's found to be an accident, she said that the context of such a "tragic mistake" will need to be determined in order to prevent it from happening again.
The TSB chair said she has been speaking with the Dutch authorities who led the investigation into the MH17 crash – a flight that was shot down by a Russian missile while flying over Ukraine.
Fox said Canada has two investigators landing in Tehran Monday to investigate the crash site. She added that a second Canadian team of two investigators, charged with probing the black box recordings, will be deployed once a time and place for that investigation is confirmed.
"I can tell you that the recorders are still in Iran. I can tell you that they are damaged," said Fox.
Fox said that the black boxes might be transported outside of Iran for their analysis, given the technical challenges involved with accessing the data in a damaged recorder. She added that while Iran is leading the investigation and Canada is participating as an expert, which limits Canadian access, Iran is already going beyond what it is required to do by giving Canada access to the black box recordings.
Speaking in French, Fox said "these are encouraging signs" in terms of the level of access Iran plans to afford to the Canadian investigators.
Regardless of whether Canada's role in the investigation, Fox seemed sure of one thing – that the answers won't be found anytime soon.
"This is not going to be a short investigation," Fox said. "This is going to take time, to answer all the questions."
Canada seeks compensation for victims' families
In the meantime, questions are circulating about potential compensation for the families of those who died in the crash. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Saturday that compensation is an important part of achieving accountability for those impacted by the tragedy.
In an interview with CTV Power Play host Evan Solomon on Monday, Justice Minister David Lametti echoed the prime minister's remarks.
"We want compensation for Canadians who have been affected by this," Lametti said.
When pressed on whether international legal action will be brought against the perpetrators of this tragedy, Lametti said he'll be part of the team of ministers that will be "looking at this."
"It's too soon to answer that question," Lametti said.