A US Fighter jet came in contact with an Iranian passenger plane which saw some of the Iranian passengers injured as the two beasts of the air avoided collision midair.
This event occurred over Syria after the pilot changed altitude to avoid collision with the US fighter jet, according to Iranian media, but the United States military said its F-15 (Fighter Jet) kept a safe distance.
The Iranian plane, which belonged to Mahan Air, was heading from Tehran, Iran to Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday when the pilot successfully staged a safety manoeuver, in an incident that Iran’s Foreign Ministry said would be investigated.
Recall that Tensions have spiked between the two countries since 2018, when US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have indeed battered Iran’s economy.
Iran’s official IRIB news agency quoted a passenger describing how his head had hit the roof of the plane during the change in altitude, and video showed an elderly passenger sprawled on the floor.
The passenger said,
“I don’t know what happened. A black plane came close to our plane and our plane lost its balance. I was sprung up and my head was banged against the ceiling,”
Another passenger in the Iranian plane also said:
“It was a fighter jet. A fighter jet was literally sticking to our plane. We lost balance and bounced up and down.”
All the passengers left the plane, some with minor injuries, the head of the Beirut airport told Reuters News Agency.
The plane arrived back in Tehran in the early hours of Friday, the Fars news agency reported.
The US military’s Central Command, which oversees American troops in the region, said the F-15 aircraft was conducting a visual inspection of the Iranian aircraft when it passed near the Tanf garrison in Syria where US forces are present.
Captain Bill Urban, the senior Central Command spokesman, said the F-15
“conducted a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of about 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) from the airliner this evening”.
“The visual inspection occurred to ensure the safety of coalition personnel at Tanf garrison,” Urban said. “Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft.”
He added the intercept was carried out in accordance with international standards.
Aircraft at that altitude are to maintain a distance of at least 600 metres (2,000 feet) to ensure they do not hit each other, though planes travelling that close together can encounter wake turbulence.
The US imposed sanctions on Mahan Air in 2011, saying it provided financial and other support to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps stationed in other countries in the Middle East.