A Ukrainian Boeing-737 jet carrying 176 people, including 57 Canadian citizens, has crashed in Iran.
There were no survivors, according to officials.
Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 to Kyiv went down minutes after taking off from Tehran’s main international airport on Wednesday morning. The plane crashed into farmland outside of the capital, scattering debris across the area. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 138 passengers on the plane were headed to Canada. Here’s what we know so far about the victims who were either Canadian citizens, or travelling to Canada:
Four members of the Mousavi family from Edmonton were on the flight. They were: Pedram Mousavi (father), Mojgan Daneshmand (mother), Darya Mousavi (daughter) and Darina Mousavi (daughter).
Pedram Mousavi and Mojgan Daneshmand were engineering professors at the University of Alberta. The flight’s manifest lists the daughters’ birth years as 2010 for Darina and 2005 for Darya.
Payman Parseyan, a member of Edmonton’s Iranian community, says many Iranians fly back to the country over the holidays to visit family. “As soon as we heard about the plane going down, I immediately thought that this is a flight that’s leaving the country,” he told CTV News Edmonton.
Mohammad Abdolrazzaghi, Mojgan Daneshmand’s research assistant at the university for the past five years, said he and his colleagues gathered together to mourn her death on Wednesday.
“I found her incredibly supportive in many events when it comes to ups and downs of the research we’ve been going through and she would always be there to back us up,” he told CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday.
Abdolrazzaghi said Daneshmand had taken three weeks off to go to Iran to visit family over the holidays.
“We absolutely remember her as one of the most supportive academic figures in our lifetime who helped us push to our limits in all of the research and scientific endeavors that we have gone through,” he said.
“Nobody is going to forget all of her help to the university and the research of the university over the past 12 years,” he said.
Azhdari was born in 1983 and was a PhD student at the University of Guelph. A statement from the university said she was on her way back to Guelph after visiting her family in Iran over the December break. “In addition to her scholarly work, Ghanimat was a proud member of the Qashaqi tribe in Iran and a powerful and passionate young leader, at the international level, in advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” reads the statement from the university’s department of geography, environment and geomatics. She was also a member of the ICAA Consortium, a global organization promoting recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories.
MILAD GHASEMI ARIANI
Ariani was a PhD student at the University of Guelph’s department of marketing and consumer studies. In a statement, the university said Ariani was returning to Guelph from visiting Iran.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of two of our students,” said University of Guelph president Franco Vaccarino. “Our thoughts go out to the families of these two students and to anyone else affected by this tragedy.
BEHNAZ KHOEI EBRAHIMI AND RAHMTIN AHMADI
Behnaz Khoei Ebrahimi worked for the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation in Toronto. Her son, Rahmtin Ahmadi, was also on the flight. Ahmadi’s birth year is listed on the manifest as 2010.
Elca Tere, one of Ebrahimi’s colleagues who worked with her for seven years, described her as hardworking and helpful. “I’m lucky that I worked and had the chance to know her,” Tere told CTV Toronto on Thursday.
Ebrahimi had travelled to Iran with her nine-year-old son Rahmtin Ahmadi, a Grade 4 student at Muirhead Public School, for a vacation. Tere said Ebrahimi taught her colleagues about Iranian culture in the office. “Her smile and personality will never fade from my memory.”
NASER POURSHABANOSHIBI AND FIROUZEH MADANI
Both medical doctors, this couple from North Vancouver was in Iran for the holidays, visiting Naser’s family. They are survived by their 19-year-old daughter, Kimia, who returned from Iran earlier in the week to prepare for classes.
“I feel sad for the dreams that my parents had but couldn’t achieve it, their time was cut short,” Kimia told CTV News Vancouver on Wednesday.
Kimia described her father as an “inquisitive” person.
“He loved research. He loved reading. He taught me how to read at three years old. He thought it was the best thing he could give me, the best gift,” she said.
When she was asked about what she will miss most about her mother, Kimia fought back tears.
“I will miss the open conversations with my mom,” she said. “We were very close. She was very open and we discussed a lot.”
SHEKOUFEH CHOUPANNEJAD AND DAUGHTERS SABA
Choupannejad was an obstetrician-gynecologist in Edmonton. Staff at the north end clinic she worked at confirmed her identity to CTV News.
Shayesteh Majdnia, a past president of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton, told CTV News Edmonton she was close friends with Choupannejad, who died in the crash along with her two daughters, Saba Saadat and Sara Saadat. Saba (below left) and Sara were both students at the University of Alberta.
Khadem worked at non-profit research organization Mitacs, in Winnipeg. Mitacs confirmed in a statement that she has been working as a business development specialist since 2016, “and had been a passionate supporter of innovation in Manitoba ever since.”
Mitacs’ Chief Business Development Officer Eric Bosco added: “We will remember Forough’s passion for Mitacs, enthusiasm for innovation in Manitoba, and her positive outlook on life. We will miss her humour, her kindness, and her warm spirit.”
Khadem graduated from the University of Manitoba with a PhD.
Jude Uzonna, a friend and Forough’s PhD supervisor, described her as an “amazing” individual.
“Forough was somebody who cared for humanity,” he told CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday. “[She] would just make sure that you are comfortable.”
Uzonna said Khadem called him on New Year’s Day to wish him a happy new year’s and she told him she was concerned about the escalating tensions between Iran and the U.S.
“She told me she was coming back on Tuesday night, but she told me she was a little bit worried,” he said.
On Tuesday, Uzonna said he received a text message from her that said she was on her way home to Canada.
“That was it. I never got to see Forough again,” he said.
Uzonna said he will remember Khadem as someone who is really “strong, very affable, very collegial” with an “infectious optimism.”
This family of 3 from Metro Vancouver was among the victims, a friend of the family confirmed with CTV News. They were: Ardalan Ebnoddin Hamidi (father), Niloufar Ebrahim (mother) and Kamyar Ebnoddin Hamidi (son).
Ebnoddin-Hamidi was an engineer and his wife was a teacher. Richard Stewart, Coquitlam’s mayor, knew the family. “They were really passionate about democracy. They organized all-candidates meetings during election campaigns, they organized festivals. They were there in every facet of Coquitlam life,” he recalled.
SIAVASH GHAFOURI-AZAR&SARA MAMANI
This couple from Montreal was in Iran for their wedding ceremony, CTV News Montreal reported. They were both former engineering students at Concordia University. Mamani worked at Bombardier while Ghafour-Azar worked at Pratt & Whitney. Reza Ghafouri, the uncle of Ghafouri-Azar, told CTV Montreal during a candlelight vigil outside Concordia University that he and his family are still in shock. “It is devastating and so unfortunate for me and my family; young, newlywed, a couple gone forever,” he said.
“I cannot come up with the words to describe my kind, dedicated nephew. He was a very positive and passionate person, from childhood until his soul departed from his body. Rest in peace, my dearest, next to your beloved wife.” Ali Dolatabadi, one of Ghafouri-Azar’s thesis supervisors, said his friend had just bought a home in Montreal before the holidays.“He told me he bought a house in Brossard with his fiancee and he was going to invite me for a housewarming party,” he said. Roxanne Dayyani, a friend of Mamani’s, said she was planning a party to celebrate her wedding. “I just spoke to Sara last week and she was supposed to come to our home next week. I can’t believe what’s happened,” she said.
Mandieh Ghavi, the youngest of the two sisters, was about to attend university in Halifax, while older sister Mansoumeh was an engineering student working on her master’s degree at Dalhousie. Ali Nafarieh, a Dalhousie professor, told CTV News Atlantic that Mansoumeh was “one of the top students” there. He commended her “skills and knowledge and experience” that she brought to an IT firm he also runs, and where she worked part time.
FAREED ARASTEH AND MANSOUR POURJAM
Arasteh was a PhD student in biology and Pourjam was a biology alumnus at Carleton University in Ottawa.
“Our thoughts are with Fareed’s and Mansour’s families, friends and colleagues at this difficult time, and with everyone who has suffered loss in this terrible tragedy,” said Carleton President Benoit-Antoine Bacon in a statement. “Campus flags have been lowered to half-mast to honour Fareed Arasteh, Mansour Pourjam, and all of the victims.” Dr. Kevin Manesh, a friend of Pourjam’s, described him to CTV News Ottawa as “very kind, very helpful.” Manesh said Pourjam was always there for people who needed help.
IMAN AND PARINAZ GHADERPANAH
CTV News confirmed this Toronto couple was among the crash victims. Iman worked as a mortgage agent while his wife, Parinaz, worked at RBC.
Faghihi was a dentist in Halifax and an alumnus of the Dalhousie Dental School.
LJ Turnbull, a regional manager for Dentalcorp., described Faghihi as an “absolute joy” and “one of the kindest human beings.”
“She had a fantastic sense of humour and she was great with the patients… She was friends with everybody on the team,” Turnbull told The Canadian Press.
A profile for her on the Dalhousie website said she was married with two children.
Dentist Ebrahim Kiani, who worked with Faghihi, said he first met her 25 years ago when she was the head of the periodontics department at the Shiraz University of Medical Science in Iran. “She was very kind, very generous with her knowledge and very skilled,” he said. “She was published in many journals… She was a good mentor for me.”
ARVIN MORATTAB AND AIDA FARZANEH
Morattab was a student at Montreal’s Ecole de technologie superireure, and was active in the local Iranian community, reported CTV News Montreal.
Farzaneh was a doctoral student and lecturer in the department of Construction Engineering. Arvin Morattab’s twin brother, Armin, said they moved to Canada in 2011 to pursue their dreams in engineering.
“He had a beautiful life with Aida, his wife,” he said. “She was a very smart girl. She was hardworking, very kind, very lovable.”
Neda Sadighi was an optometrist and eye surgeon from Richmond Hill, Ont. CTV News Toronto has confirmed she died in the crash. Colleagues said she had travelled to Iran before Christmas to visit family and was scheduled to return to work Thursday.