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Iran plane crash: Did Boeing 737-800 go down after engine failure or something else?

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Authorities found the “black boxes” of a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed into Iranian farmland Wednesday, minutes after taking off from the main airport in Iran’s capital, Tehran.

Iran didn’t say whether it would release the boxes or the flight data from them. Without it, crash inspectors said, it would be harder to pinpoint why the jet went down.

The Boeing 737-800 crashed hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers. The plane carried 167 passengers and nine crew members from different nations. There were no survivors. 

Ukrainian and Iranian officials gave no indication the plane crash and the missile attack are related.

Iranian authorities pointed to the possibility of engine failure, but some aviation observers were skeptical.

“There was no way for Iran to know it was engine failure,” said Mary Schiavo, a former U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general and a pilot. She said photos of the wreckage she’s examined show no evidence of engine problems.