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Iran’s representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization, Farhad Parvaresh, has said his government will hand over the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 for download and analysis.
Canada’s foreign affairs minister, François Philippe Champagne, told reporters on Parliament Hill March 11 that ICAO had been advised a few hours earlier that Ukrainian or French investigators would be given the recorders.
This was a day after Champagne had been openly critical of the ongoing delays since the UAI Boeing 737-800 was shot down by an Iranian missile Jan. 8. All 176 aboard were killed, including 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents of Canada.
“I take Iran at their word, but I would rather judge their actions once the black boxes are in Europe,” said Champagne, explaining that Transportation Safety Board of Canada experts also would be involved.
“Bring them to a place where we can analyze and download and obviously, when this is going to be happening, we will have our experts there present so we can better assess whether there was any tampering with the black boxes. I have no reason to judge that at this point, but we’ll have our experts on the ground who will be able to make that assessment for us.”
Champagne also said he hoped that Tehran, which initially denied the aircraft had been shot down, would not start using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse for any further delays.
Kathy Fox, chair of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, told CBC News that Iran had notified her office on March 5 that transportation of the flight recorders had been delayed by travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19.
“There was a plan to take [the recorders] to Ukraine. However, that’s been delayed because of the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran,” Fox told CBC. “That is affecting their ability to travel at this time. It’s just one more challenge that nobody needed.”
Champagne said progress must be made.
“The work needs to be carried out because the victims of the families that are watching us . . . have still a lot of questions. The black box will provide elements of response to all these questions,” he said.