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Latest pictures and video: Deadly plane crash kills 176 in Iran

The cause of the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in Iran is still unknown, but it comes at a time of heightened tension in the region.

Most of those on Boeing 737 crash were headed to Canada via Kyiv

New footage from Iran shows the vast debris field from the plane crash Wednesday that killed 176 people, including 63 Canadians 0:41

A Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed near the Iranian capital on Wednesday local time, killing all 176 passengers and crew, including 63 Canadians.

The passenger jet crashed mere minutes after takeoff from Tehran's main airport.

Victims from several countries

On board Flight PS752 were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, said Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Vadym Prystaiko. There were also 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals, he said.

A memorial to victims of the Iran plane crash at Western University in London. Ont. Four students from the school were killed in the crash. (Geoff Robins/AFP via Getty Images)

A total of 138 passengers on the flight were connecting to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday evening. They included newlyweds, families and many international students.

 WATCH | Trudeau offers his condolences to families of UIA crash victims:

At an afternoon news conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the "entire country is with" families reeling from a plane crash in Iran that killed at least 63 Canadians. He said the Transportation Safety Board would provide any technical assistance requested by Iranian and Ukrainian accident investigation bodies. 5:00

"Canadians have questions and they deserve answers," Trudeau said, vowing to make certain the crash is thoroughly investigated.

(Ebrahim Noroozi/The Associated Press)

Plane was en route to Kyiv

Airline officials said most of the passengers were heading to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Staff at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv told The Associated Press that passengers on this flight are usually Iranian students returning to school after winter holidays.

A relative of one of the crash victims reacts at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv. (Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters)

Nine of the 11 Ukrainians killed were members of the flight crew and included the pilot, the first officer, an instructor and six flight attendants, the BBC reported. A makeshift memorial honouring the nine was erected at Boryspil airport.

A relative kisses a portrait of one of the members of the flight crew killed in the crash at a memorial inside Boryspil airport. (Efren Lukatsky/The Associated Press)

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) said it had indefinitely suspended flights to Tehran after the crash, and the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, ordered an inspection of all civil airplanes in Ukraine.

WATCH | Relatives, colleagues and travellers at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv pay their respects at a memorial to the flight crew killed on Flight PS752:

A memorial to the flight crew of the crashed Ukrainian jet appeared in Kyiv's Boryspil airport, allowing mourners to pay their respects 0:57
A woman reacts during a news briefing on the crash at Boryspil airport. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

Cause still unknown

UIA also said it is working to confirm the cause of the crash of the 3½-year-old Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with the airline's president calling it "one of the best planes we had." The crash occurred only hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers. 

Workers carry items retrieved from the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran. (Ebrahim Norooz/The Associated Press)

Iranian officials, however, have said they suspected a mechanical issue brought the plane down. Ukrainian officials initially agreed, but have since backed away and declined to offer a cause while the investigation continues.

U.S. intelligence officials have said there was no immediate evidence it was shot down.

WATCH | Workers remove plane debris at the crash site:

Debris and smouldering engine parts from Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 were strewn across a field near Tehran's airport after the plane crashed. 0:30

Thought Americans had attacked

The crash comes at a time of heightened tension in the region. On Jan. 3, the U.S. killed Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, leader of the elite Quds force within Iran's Revolutionary Guard, in a drone attack. The Iranians vowed revenge, and early on Jan. 8, launched a missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq. 

A man who lives near the site of the UIA crash said he had been watching news coverage of the Iranian missile strike when he heard "a massive explosion and all the houses started to shake."

Crews retrieve debris at the crash site. (AFP/Getty Images)

"At first I thought [the Americans] have hit here with missiles and went in the basement as a shelter," Din Mohammad Qassemi told The Associated Press. "After a while, I went out and saw a plane has crashed over there. Body parts were lying around everywhere."

WATCH | Islamic Republic of Iran News Network footage of burning plane debris at the crash site:

63 Canadians among the dead after a plane crashes after takeoff in Iran 0:29

Pilot lost control

Debris from the Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed outside Tehran early Wednesday local time. (Mohammad Nasiri/The Associated Press)

Qassem Biniaz, a spokesperson for Iran's Road and Transportation Ministry, said it appeared a fire struck one of the plane's engines. The pilot of the aircraft then lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground, Biniaz said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Passengers' belongings scattered at the crash site. (Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA/Reuters)

Iranian state television said both of the plane's black boxes — which record cockpit conversations and instrument data — had been found.

Numerous victims from Edmonton

Multiple people from Edmonton are believed to be among the 63 Canadians killed. Payman Parseyan, a member of the Iranian-Canadian community in the Alberta capital, told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM: "We lost a significant portion of our community."

University professors Pedram Mousavi and Mojgan Daneshmand, along with their daughters, from left, Daria and Dorina, are among the dead. (zaghtweet1/Twitter) (zaghtweet1/Twitter)

Memorials set up

Makeshift memorials have been created in a number of places, including at the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv and at Boryspil International Airport east of Kyiv.

A woman and her daughter lay flowers outside the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial at Boryspil airport for the nine flight crew members killed in the Iran plane crash. (Efrem Lukatsky/The Associated Press)

In Ottawa, the flag on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill was lowered to half-mast to honour the victims.

The Canadian flag flies at half-mast on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill to honour the victims of the crash of Flight PS752, which killed sixty-three Canadians. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters