Stewarts has issued High Court proceedings on behalf of the families of three British citizens and one Iranian citizen living in the UK who were tragically killed in the shooting down of a Ukraine operated aircraft on 8 January 2020.
In the early hours of 8 January 2020, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 took off from Tehran, Iran bound for Kyiv, Ukraine. Within minutes of taking off, the aircraft was struck by two missiles fired by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. All 175 passengers and crew were killed. Those killed were mostly Iranian and Canadian citizens, along with our clients’ loved ones.
The official accident investigation report has yet to be published. A preliminary report from the investigator in charge was published in July 2020 but gave only factual information as to what had happened. The families patiently await the final report to provide them with the answers they are seeking.
Arguments on liability are likely to centre on the actions taken by the airline in the months and hours leading up to the accident flight.
Partner Peter Neenan and Senior Associate Rebecca Smith in the Aviation team are representing the families.
“The increasing hostilities between the USA and Iran in the weeks before this tragedy are well publicised. The available data indicates that airlines, including Ukraine International Airlines, would have been aware as early as May 2019 that rising political tensions and military activity posed a possible risk of miscalculation or misidentification. All operators were advised to exercise caution.
“In June 2019, US airlines were banned from flying in Iranian airspace above the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Iran after Iran had shot down a high-altitude US drone. In the same month, the UAE authorities required all its airlines to conduct risk assessments for operations in Iranian airspace, and Indian operators decided to avoid Iranian airspace for the safety of their passengers.
“At the time of the shooting down of flight PS752 on 8 January 2020, a number of major airlines had decided to divert flights around Iranian airspace, yet Ukraine International Airlines continued to operate.
“We firmly believe that Ukraine International Airlines have a case to answer as to why, against a backdrop of known increasing hostilities and the risk of a shootdown over Iranian airspace, they failed to follow the lead of other airlines by not cancelling their operations over Iranian airspace.”
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