Trudeau’s comments on Thursday came as images posted on social media increasingly pointed to a catastrophic mistake by Tehran’s air defense batteries bringing the down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in flames Wednesday.
Citing information from allies as well as Canada’s own intelligence, the prime minister said the plane appeared to have been hit by an Iranian surface-to-air (SAM) missile.
“We know this may have been unintentional. Canadians have questions, and they deserve answers,” Trudeau told reporters.
The prime minister was backed by other Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said mounting evidence supported a missile strike, which “may well have been unintentional.”
US President Donald Trump indicated that Washington officials believed the Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was struck by one or more Iranian missiles before it ditched and exploded outside Tehran.
Flight PS752 went down just minutes after takeoff from Tehran airport in the dark early Wednesday, with no radio message from the pilot to indicate distress, according to the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization.
It was carrying 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons.
The disaster unfolded amid worries of a possible war between the United States and Iran, just hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles at American military targets in Iraq in retaliation for the January 3 US drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general.
The Iranian government said the missile strike scenario made “no sense,” however, arguing that several internal and international flights had been sharing approximately the same airspace.
Tehran later asked Ottawa to share its information with Iranian investigators.