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Tragedy: 63 Canadians killed in plane that crashed in Iran

All 176 people that were aborad a plane that crashed in Iran are considered dead. The crash happened hours after Iran fired missiles at an Iraqi air base.
Graeme Gordon Montreal, QC

On Tuesday night reports came in that a Ukrainian Boeing-737 crashed shortly after taking off in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians (crew members), ten Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons and three Germans killed in the crash.

The tragedy occurred at Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran on Wednesday at 6:12 a.m. local time. Iran’s state media claimed it was technical problems.

The plane crash occurred just hours after the Iranian regime took credit for firing missiles at an Iraqi base housing American troops in retaliation to the U.S. killing an Iranian general and other militia men considered to be terrorists.

“I heard a massive explosion and all the houses started to shake. There was fire everywhere,” local resident Din Mohammad Qassemi told the Associated Press. “At first I thought (the Americans) have hit here with missiles and went in the basement as a shelter. After a while, I went out and saw a plane has crashed over there. Body parts were lying around everywhere.”

Qassemi was watching the news that Iran had shot ballistic missiles at U.S. forces as a response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani at the time of the crash.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau retweeted Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne’s statement regarding the crash that killed dozens of Canadians.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran had originally published a statement which ruled out terrorism and concurred that the crash was due to engine failure. That statement, though, was later taken down because the crash is now under investigation.

The embassy went on to say that a commission was further investigating the matter and that “any statements about the causes of the accident before the decision of the commission are not official.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on his Facebook page that he is “personally involved in supervision over all measures to be taken.”

“I implore you all to refrain from speculating and making uncorroborated theories in relation to the plane crash before any official statements are made,” said Zelensky, noting that planes would be sent to Iran to recover victims’ bodies. Zelensky was on vacation in Oman during the incident, but has since cut the vacation short, returning to Kyiv.

Zelensky also said that the government has suspended Ukrainian flights over the Iran’s airspace until “the reasons of the tragedy are determined.”

When asked whether or not Iran would send the recorders on the flight to the United States, Iranian Civil Aviation Organization head Abed Zadeh said that the investigation would be led by Iran, according to Mehr news agency.

“It has not yet been decided where the [recorders] will go” for data extraction, Zadeh said.

Zadeh continued that the pilots “did not contact the control tower” prior to the crash. “We were not informed of any technical problem from the flight crew.”

In a statement published just after 10:30 on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave his sincere condolences to the victims and those who were on the flight.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to those who have lost family, friends, and loved ones in this tragedy,” the statement read. “Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that this crash is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians’ questions are answered. Today, I assure all Canadians that their safety and security is our top priority. We also join with the other countries who are mourning the loss of citizens.”

The plane was three-and-a-half-years old.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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Graeme Gordon
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