A Ukrainian passenger jet carrying 176 people crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s main airport, killing all passengers on board.
Ukraine’s foreign minister says 63 Canadians are among the dead. There were also 82 Iranians, 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German, three British nationals and 11 Ukrainians.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as many as 138 passengers aboard the plane were connecting through Canada.
It happened early Wednesday morning just hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers, but both Ukrainian and Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
We are learning the identities of some of the Canadians killed, including students from McMaster, Waterloo and Guelph.
McMaster University released a statement that said it believed two of its students, Iman Aghabali and Mehdi Eshaghian, were among the victims. Aghabali and Eshaghian were both PhD students in the faculty of engineering.
The University of Guelph identified two victims as Ghanimat Azdahri, a PhD student in the department of geography, environment and geomatics, and Milad Ghasemi Ariani, a PhD student in marketing and consumer studies. The school said they were on the way back to Canada from visiting Iran.
The University of Waterloo say Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan worked on new algorithms and technology in remote areas to study climate change.
Tn Toronto, York University confirmed the death of one of their students and while they didn’t give specific numbers, the University of Toronto confirm that ‘several’ students were killed in the crash. Flags will be at half mast as the university mourns.
A combined 7 students from Western University and Ottawa University were reported killed.
According to The Canadian Press, data from the flight-tracking website FlightRadar24 indicates the plane had been delayed from taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport by almost an hour. It took off to the west but never made it above 2,400 metres in the air.
The cause is still undetermined but a spokesperson for Iran’s Road and Transportation Ministry said it appeared a fire struck one of its engines.
According to the state-run IRNA news agency, the pilot of the aircraft then lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground.