WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump said Thursday he doesn't believe that mechanical failure caused a Ukrainian jet to crash after takeoff in Tehran and suggested that "something very terrible happened."
"I personally don't even think that's even a question" as to whether the crash was caused by mechanical failure, Trump told reporters at the White House.
"It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood. Somebody could have made a mistake," he said.
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers. All 176 passengers and crew of the Boeing 737-800 were killed.
Iran blamed the crash on engine failure. But a London-based global information firm says the plane probably was mistakenly shot down by an Iranian missile.
Newsweek, citing two Pentagon officials, said the plane was struck by an anti-aircraft missile. The officials told Newsweek the strike was likely accidental.
In Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said that investigators were looking into claims that parts of a Russian-made, surface-to-air missile stocked by Iran had been found near the crash site.
Trump declined to share his theories around why the plane crashed but said he thought "something very terrible happened. Very devastating."
"Well, I have my suspicions. It was very - I don't want to say that…because other people have those suspicions also."
He also said someone "on other side" could have "made a mistake."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Iran plane crash: Trump says something 'terrible' downed Ukrainian jet