57 Canadians among 176 killed in passenger plane crash in Iran
Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister, Vadym Prystaiko said there were 63 Canadians (including at least 8 Ontario University students), 82 Iranians, and 11 Ukrainians on board Flight PS752. a Ukraine International Airlines boeing 737-800 jet, that exploded minutes after takeoff from Tehran. There were also 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German, and three British nationals killed in the crash.
The flight was headed to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, and may have been carrying several Iranian students coming home after winter holidays, according to the Associated Press.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he has now learned that 138 of the 176 passengers were connecting in Kyiv to head to Canada afterwards.
Officials initially said the cause of the crash was mechanical failure although now they are saying the cause is not certain. Most recent updates came from Qassem Biniaz, a spokesperson for Iran’s Road and Transportation Ministry, who said it appeared a fire broke out on one of the plane’s jet engines. The pilot of the aircraft then lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground, Biniaz said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. The last known altitude of the plane was 8,000 feet and the flight never made it above 2,400 metres according to data from a flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com.
Iranian state television said both of the plane’s black boxes had been found.
We do know that four Western University students, two Guelph University students and a campus member as well as two University of Waterloo graduates were on board as reported by CBC.ca.
“It is with sadness I share that Western is aware of four students who have died in the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 in Iran last night,” Western University President Alan Shepard said in a statement. “Three were current graduate students and one was an incoming graduate student.”
The three campus members from the University of Guelph who were among the victims, according to a statement from the university were. Milad Ghasemi Ariani who was pursuing a PhD in the department of marketing and consumer studies, Ghanimat Azhdari, 36, who was doing research in the department of geography, environment and geomatics and her husband, Hamed Alibeiki, who was living with her in university family housing is thought also to have been on the plane.
The two graduate students from the University of Waterloo who were also listed on the passenger manifest are Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan, a PhD student of geography. and Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani, PhD student of civil engineering, according to the CBC report.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of everyone who died in this incident and we will provide support to anybody in our University community who is affected by this tragic incident,” UW media relations director Matthew Grant said in an email statement.
Additional reports say there were at least 30 people from Edmonton on the flight some of whom comprised a wedding party. There were also victims from Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario. And the latest developments indicated that 138 of the 163 passengers were headed to Canada after Kyiv.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued the following statement:
“This morning, I join Canadians across the country who are shocked and saddened to see reports that a plane crash outside of Tehran, Iran, has claimed the lives of 176 people, including 63 Canadians.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to those who have lost family, friends, and loved ones in this tragedy. Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that this crash is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians’ questions are answered. Today, I assure all Canadians that their safety and security is our top priority. We also join with the other countries who are mourning the loss of citizens.
“Minister Champagne has been in touch with the government of Ukraine, and is speaking to relevant authorities and to international partners. Minister Garneau is also working with officials from Transport Canada, and is reaching out to his international counterparts.
The tragic crash happened merely hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi bases that were housing American soldiers. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the strikes were retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iranian top general Qassem Soleimani.
Garneau also said, “Friends and relatives of Canadian citizens believed to be on board can contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 613-996-8885 or 1-800-387-3124, or by sending an email to email@example.com. Canadian citizens in Iran requiring consular assistance should contact the Canadian Embassy in Ankara at +90 (312) 409 2700 or call Global Affairs Canada’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre at +1 613-996-8885.”
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