Here are 3 times passenger planes have been shot down on accident amid heightened military tensions

FILE PHOTO: Red Crescent workers check the debris from the Ukraine International Airlines plane, that crashed after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport, on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS


Red Crescent workers check debris from the Ukraine International Airlines plane that crashed on the outskirts of Tehran.

  • The US, according to multiple reports, suspects that Iran, very likely on accident, shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 with a surface-to-air missile.
  • The incident followed an Iranian missile strike on US and coalition forces in Iraq, the latest in a series of tit-for-tat exchanges amid sky-high tensions between Washington and Tehran.
  • Over the years, there have been several such incidents. Here are three tragic stories of passenger jets being downed in previously tense environments.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US believes, according to multiple reports, that Iran shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 amid heightened tensions with the US.

If that is the case, it certainly won't be the first time a tragedy like this has occurred.

Flight 752 is suspected to have been hit by missiles fired from a Russian-built Tor surface-to-air missile system, designated the SA-15 by NATO, operated by the Iranian military in the tense period immediately following an Iranian ballistic missile strike on US and coalition forces in Iraq.

All 176 people on Flight 752 were killed.

Here are three other times military tensions have resulted in tragedy for a passenger plane.


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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur on July 17, 2014, when it went down over eastern Ukraine, a tense region home to ongoing conflict.

All 283 passengers were killed.

A multinational team of investigators determined over the course of a multi-year investigation that the aircraft was hit by a Russian-made missile from a Buk surface-to-air missile system belonging to a Russian brigade and fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

Russia has denied any culpability in the incident.

Iran Air Flight 655

Iran Air Flight 655

Iran Air Flight 665 was traveling from Tehran to Dubai when it was shot down over the Persian Gulf on July 3 1988 by a surface-to-air missile fired by the US Navy missile cruiser USS Vincennes.

All 290 passengers were killed.

At the time of the shoot-down, the situation in the Gulf was tense, as the US Navy had exchanged gunfire with Iranian boats and even lost assets at the hands of the Iranians, who had been mining strategic waterways.

The US insists that the crew of the cruiser misidentified the aircraft as a possible enemy F-14 Tomcat. The US says the Navy made 11 unanswered radio calls before opening fire. Iran argues the aircraft identified itself as civilian. The black box was never recovered.

The incident continues to be a sore point in an already strained relationship between the US and Iran.

Korean Air Lines Flight 007

Korean Air Lines Flight 007

Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was flying from New York City to Seoul when it diverted from its original course and entered Soviet airspace. The aircraft was shot down by a Soviet Su-15 fighter jet on September 1, 1983.

All 269 people on board lost their lives.

The tragic incident occurred during a period of high Cold War tensions, and the Soviets said they mistook the aircraft for a US surveillance aircraft, such as one of the US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft in the area.

The pilot of the Soviet interceptor told CNN several years ago he signaled the aircraft and fired warning shots without response. There were reportedly no attempts, though, to contact the passenger aircraft over the radio. The details of what exactly happened to this flight remain unclear.

"My orders were to destroy the intruder. I fulfilled my mission," the pilot said.

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