Accident: Mahan A313 over Syria on Jul 23rd 2020, upset as result of intercept by fighter aircraft

Mahan Air Airbus A310-300, registration EP-MNF performing flight W5-1152 from Tehran Imam Khomeini (Iran) to Beirut (Lebanon), was enroute at FL340 about 160nm east of Beirut in Syrian Airspace near the triangle Syria, Jordan and Iraq when the crew performed an abrupt maneouver to avoid two fighter aircraft and climbed the aircraft at least 600 feet. The aircraft subsequently returned to FL340, requested medical assistance for the arrival at Beirut and continued to Beirut for a landing without further incident. A number of passengers needed medical assistance.

Reports as to what fighter aircraft caused the upset are unclear, there are unverified claims of Israeli or US fighter aircraft. Iran’s State TV IRIB claims the fighter aircraft were Israeli aircraft, Syria’s states controlled Arab News Agency SANA however reported the fighter aircraft were US ones.

Medical Services (Red Cross) in Beirut reported no passengers needed to be taken to a hospital, a number was treated mainly for shock.

In the early morning hours of Jul 24th 2020 (UTC) CENTCOM, the US Central Military Command, reported, one F-15 was on a routine mission over southern Syria near the al Tanf garrison in southern Syria (located about 12nm east of the 16:14:43 position of the aircraft) and was dispatched to conduct an inspection of the airliner to ensure safety of coalition personnel at al Tanf. When the F-15 identified the aircraft as a passenger plane, the F-15 maintained safe distance of about 1000 meters. The intercept was done in accordance with international standards, however, it appears it caused the Iranian pilots to carry out a sudden and unexpected altitude change.

Al Tanf Garrison is located at N33.50 E38.62. When the A313 was at FL346 at 16:14:43Z, the aircraft was at position N33.50 E38.82 about 12.6nm east of Al Tanf, about a minute later at its closest distance to Al Tanf the aircraft was at position N33.55 E38.68 about 4.8nm northeast of Al Tanf.

Passenger photos (Photo: Mehdi H)
Passenger photos (Photos: Mehdi H):
Passenger photos (Photo: Mehdi H)
Map (Graphics: AVH/Google Earth)


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