Family of San Diego student killed in missile attack on plane over Iran sues airline

World

Sara Saadat was an Alliant International University student. She died along with 175 others on board a plane mistakenly shot down by Iran during a tense standoff with the U.S.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The family of a San Diego college student killed while aboard a plane that was shot down over Iran two years ago filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Ukranian airline, alleging it should have been aware it was unsafe to fly amid tensions in the region.

Sara Saadat, 23, a first-year doctoral student in clinical psychology at Alliant International University in Scripps Ranch, was among all 176 people killed aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan. 8, 2020.

Representatives from the airline did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps later admitted to shooting the plane down shortly after takeoff after mistakenly identifying it as a “hostile target.”

The suit filed in San Diego federal court by Saadat’s father and brother alleges that in the days leading up to the missile attack, “Iran and other nations were engaged in openly hostile acts of aggression toward each other and others,” including a Jan. 3 drone strike that killed Iranian Major Gen. Qasem Soleimani and a retaliatory missile launch against two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.

According to the lawsuit, “increasing violent and open aggression between the U.S. and Iran which included missile and drone attacks were widely reported and well known.”

These tensions led the Federal Aviation Administration to issue an emergency order on Jan. 8, 2020, prohibiting U.S. operators from flying over Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

Though this order did not apply to Ukranian airliners, the lawsuit alleges the FAA’s order was available to UIA, which the suit alleges should have known “of the clear and present danger to the flight and passengers.”

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