Toronto devastated after Iran plane crash kills 63 Canadians
The world is reeling today in the wake of a Ukrainian International Airlines plane crash that killed 176 passengers — 63 of them Canadian — just minutes after their flight took off from Tehran, Iran.
Flight 752 from Tehran to Kiev went down shortly after takeoff from Iran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on Wednesday morning around 6:10 a.m., local time, according to CNN.
Ukraine International Airlines confirms air accident in Iran— FlyUIA (@fly_uia) January 8, 2020
We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims.
Find more info here: https://t.co/gP3Ow4yWAq
The head of Iran's Red Crescent told state media this morning that it would have been impossible for anyone to survive the crash.
Heartbreaking news from Tehran this morning: 176 people, including 63 Canadians, have lost their lives in a tragic plane crash. My thoughts are with all those who are mourning the loss of family members, friends, and loved ones. https://t.co/rSTTbGj0oG— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 8, 2020
Ukraine's Tehran embassy originally blamed the incident on engine problems with the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, but removed the statement pending a commission's inquiry.
It is of note that Iran had launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases in Iraq, where U.S. soldiers were stationed, just hours before the crash, though there is no evidence at this time that the incidents are connected.
What we do know for sure, per Ukraine's foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, is that 63 Canadians, 82 Iranians and 11 Ukrainians were killed in the crash, among others.
Ukraine’s government released nationalities of the 176 people killed in a plane crash in Iran. The flight to Kyiv crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran:— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 8, 2020
3 Britons pic.twitter.com/A8mIg1Py0g
Little is known about the deceased passengers so far, but condolences are pouring forth for their families from around the world.
Absolute terrible news coming out of Iran this morning. We are waiting to hear more about what happened and who was on the plane. My heart breaks for the families and communities looking for answers about their loved ones. You’re in our thoughts and prayers this morning.— Doug Ford (@fordnation) January 8, 2020
Many are also coming forward to point out how many Iranian-Canadians tend to fly through Kyiv en route from Tehran to Toronto, as the popular Ukrainian International Airlines flight is one of the cheapest routes available between the two cities.
"Many of the Canadians on board were believed to be Iranian-Canadian students returning to school after the holidays. Flying Ukrainian International Airlines, via the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, is one of the cheapest routes from Tehran to Toronto.” :(— Jennifer Adams (@jlabeatnik) January 8, 2020
"I've had family take the Tehran to Toronto route via Kiev in the past year. It's been a new affordable route for many Iranian-Canadians who don’t have direct flights from Canada," wrote Iranian-Canadian researcher Mahsa Alimardani on Twitter in response to the crash.
"My heart is with all the families of those lost."
Update PLANE CRASH— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) January 8, 2020
Ukraine International Airlines #PS241 just departed Kyiv heading for Toronto and may have been the connecting flight home for 63 Canadians killed in the crash of #PS752 shortly after departure from Tehran yesterday.https://t.co/TfRf0ciBDG pic.twitter.com/K8wVgAiWXY
"It was unclear why such a large number of Canadians were on board, however the airline provides relatively inexpensive flights via Kyiv to Toronto," wrote BBC News of the flight initially.
"Some of the Canadians were thought to be students returning at the end of the school holidays."
Toronto-area family of 3 among those killed in Iran plane crash | CBC News https://t.co/K3hE14Usrb— Farrah Merali (@FarrahMerali) January 8, 2020
"The 63 Canadians killed in the crash had most likely intended to board a later flight from Kyiv to Toronto," the British news outlet reported in a later update.
"Canada's biggest city is home to a large Iranian community and is even referred to by some Iranians as 'Tehran-to'."
Profoundly sad news of the deaths of 63 Canadians in the crash of UIA flight 752 in Iran. Many Canadians were flying home to Toronto & today families are waking up to tragedy.— Erin O'Toole (@ErinOTooleMP) January 8, 2020
"On behalf of all Toronto residents, we are saddened by the news of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752," wrote Toronto Mayor John Tory of the tragedy Wednesday morning.
"Our hearts are with Toronto's Iranian and Ukrainian communities today as we mourn the 176 people, including 63 Canadians, who have tragically died."
One of my wonderful PhD students, Ghanimat Azdahri, was on the plane that crashed in Tehran this morning. Ghanimat was on her way back to @uofg after visiting her family and traditional Indigenous territories in Iran over the December break. The students and I are in so much pain pic.twitter.com/8aV76otPaP— Dr. Faisal Moola (@faisal_moola) January 8, 2020
Meanwhile, Canada's federal government just issued a travel advisory for Iran, urging Canadians to "avoid non-essential travel" to the country due to "the volatile security situation."
"Canadians, particularly dual Canadian-Iranian citizens, are at risk of being arbitrarily questioned, arrested and detained," warns the government. "Iran does not recognize dual nationality and Canada will not be granted consular access to dual Canadian-Iranian citizens."
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