A video appears to capture the moment a missile struck a Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran before it crashed, killing all 173 people on board minutes after it took off.

The footage, obtained by the New York Times, shows a bright light speeding into the sky and exploding.

The plane itself did not explode immediately but was on fire as it attempted to fly back towards the airport, before crashing.

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A witness who spoke to The Independent described seeing the moment the airliner was struck by an apparent missile and was engulfed in flames.

"I saw a light in the sky hit something like a plane, after that whatever it hit began burning and to move across the sky. Then it kept moving for may be a minute or two burning through the sky," said, speaking anonymously for security reasons.

The witness, who lives in Parand, a city close to Tehran International Airport, added: “I was so scared, I thought it was war, I thought America had attacked. I only found out about the plane crash later and put it all together."

He said he had been shaken awake at 6.15am local time by a loud explosion, which he now believes was the outgoing missile. He "rushed to the window" and saw what he believes was the plane being hit.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, whose country lost 63 citizens in the crash, said intelligence reports confirmed that the plane was struck by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. Other reports have said that UK and US officials believe Iran may have accidentally shot down the plane.

The Boeing 737's crew did not radio for help before it crashed just moments after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran.

More video footage following the crash shows smouldering remains of the aircraft scattered outside Tehran.

Among the victims aboard Ukraine International Airlines' Flight PS752 were four Britons, 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians. The plane's destination was Kiev.

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