iran plane crash

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.

The head of Iran's Red Crescent told state media this morning that it would have been impossible for anyone to survive the crash.

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.

Little is known about the deceased passengers so far, but condolences are pouring forth for their families from around the world.

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.

"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."

"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."

"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'."

"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."

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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