Canada mourns victims of Iranian plane crash

Published 10/01/2020

The Canadian higher education community is reeling after discovering students and staff were among those killed when Flight 752 from Iran crashed on January 8.

All 176 people onboard the flight were killed when the plane, headed for the Ukrainian city of Kyiv, crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including nine crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons and three Germans.

“Universities across the country are working to support the families and friends of those who perished”

In a statement, Universities Canada said the nation’s universities join in mourning the crash victims.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss of life and potential,” it said.

“Universities across the country are working to support the families and friends of those who perished, many of whom were students, faculty and others connected to the university community.

Victims connected with at least 17 Canadian HEIs are believed to have died in the tragedy, including from the University of Alberta, University of Toronto and Western University.

“It is with profound sadness that we have learned that several members of our University of Alberta community died in last night’s tragic aeroplane crash of Flight PS752 in Iran,” the university’s president and vice-chancellor David H. Turpin said in a statement.

“Words simply cannot express the loss I know we all are feeling. On behalf of the University of Alberta, I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the families, friends, colleagues and loved ones of the victims of this tragedy.”

Roja Omidbakhsh, a first-year student at the University of Victoria on Canada’s west coast, was one of the victims of the crash.

“Roja was very positive and had a keen interest in marketing. She was on the pathway to complete a bachelor of commerce,” her professor Mark Colgate said.

“We’re heartbroken that this happened and our condolences go to her family and classmates.”

Iranian citizens headed for Halifax in Nova Scotia were also onboard the flight.

Dalhousie University master’s student Masoumeh “Masi” Ghavi was travelling with her younger sister who was coming to begin studies of her own in the area.

International graduate and member of the faculty of dentistry, Sharieh Faghihi, was also on the flight, as were Maryam Malek and Fatemeh Mahmoodi who were Saint Mary’s University students.

Six students of the University of Toronto appear on the flight manifest. Flag are being flown at half-mast at institutions across the country.

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