PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After U.S. officials announced confidence in intelligence reports that Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian jetliner killing all 176 people onboard, well-known Philadelphia-based aviation attorney and jet pilot Arthur Wolk says there’s “no question that this aircraft was brought down by a missile.” As initial CBS News report broke that the Ukranian jetliner that crashed on Wednesday may have been targeted by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile system.
Syracuse University senior Evan Kortick, 21, of Yardley, was aboard a Qatar Airlines jetliner diverting away from the Iranian airspace to head home.
“I mean, it’s a little nerve-racking, knowing that they’re just aimlessly shooting down potential passenger planes,” Kortick said.
Kortick flew from the U.S. to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to visit a friend.
He had a layover flight both ways in Doha, Qatar.
“When I was going from Doha to Dakar, they took us over Iran airspace and on the way back, they took us underneath, which took two-and-a-half extra hours to get back,” Kortick said.
His mother is just happy to have him home.
“I was worried because I was afraid he was going to be flying over Iranian airspace and I think it’s unsure right now what brought that Ukrainian plane down, so I’m very relieved to have him back in Philly,” Audrey Kortick said.
The Boeing 737 crashed Wednesday just hours after the Iranian missile attack on U.S. targets.
Sources told CBS News that U.S. intelligence picked up signals of a radar being turned on. They also say missile components were found near the crash site.
Wolk offers this advice about traveling to the Middle East.
“Stay away. Stay away,” Wolk said. “It’s a hotbed of military activity. It’s an area that’s got a hair-trigger and you don’t who is manning what.”
The FAA has already restricted U.S. commercial flights operating in airspace over Iran and Iraq.