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Voice data recovered from downed Ukraine jet, Canada sceptical about Iran explanation

A woman reacts in front of a memorial for the victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 crash in the Iranian capital Tehran, at the Boryspil airport outside Kiev on January 8, 2020. - A Ukrainian airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran Wednesday killing all 176 people on board, in a disaster striking a region rattled by heightened military tensions. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman reacts in front of a memorial for the victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 crash in the Iranian capital Tehran, at the Boryspil airport outside Kiev on 8 January 2020 [SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images]

Investigators examining the black boxes from the Ukrainian jet accidentally shot down by Iran have recovered its cockpit voice data, France’s BEA accident investigation bureau said on Monday, reported Reuters.

Iranian forces say they downed the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 jet on Jan. 8 after mistaking it for a missile amid heightened tensions with the United States. All 176 people on board – including 57 Canadians – were killed.

“CVR data – including the event itself – has been successfully downloaded,” the BEA said in a tweet, referring to the cockpit voice recorder.

It did not elaborate on the content of the audio, which records pilots’ verbal communications and other cockpit sounds. The release of any further information is a matter for Iranian authorities leading the investigation, a BEA spokesman said.

Iran agreed in June to send the recorders to the BEA for analysis, ending a long standoff with Canada, Ukraine and France.

Read: Iran says Ukraine passenger jet downed due to radar ‘misalignment’

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Iran’s transfer was a much-needed and long-overdue step.

But he expressed doubt over an interim report by Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation that blamed a misalignment of a radar system and lack of communication between the air defence operator and his commanders.

“I don’t put much credibility into that report. It’s not just the result of human error – I think that would be an oversimplification of what really happened,” he told Reuters by telephone, adding:

We need to understand who the responsible people are, who gave that order, how could the airspace still be open, how were these missiles fired?

The aircraft was shot down hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi air bases housing US forces in retaliation for the US drone killing of a senior Iranian commander.

The data extraction is being carried out with an Iranian investigator and observed by Canadian, US, Swedish and British experts and representatives from UIA, Boeing and engine maker Safran.

Read: Iran agrees to pay compensation to families of downed Ukraine plane

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