After a Ukraine International Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff, it is now known that several Canadian-Iranian students and professors were among the 63 Canadians that were killed in the Iran plane crash. Several universities and schools in Ontario have issued statements mourning the loss of their students and offering counselling services at this time.

On Wednesday, January 9, the Ukranian aircraft slammed into farmland south of the Iranian capital of Tehran, leaving no survivors.

According to the Toronto Star, Younes Zangiabadi, a research director and board member with the Iranian-Canadian Congress in Toronto, said there were numerous students on the flight coming home from winter break.

And a tragic trend in the hours after the news of the crash is that of Ontario schools confirming the death of students.

A statement issued by U of Guelph names postgraduates Ghanimat Azhdari and Milad Ghasemi Ariani as those among the victims.

According to U of G's statement, both students were returning to Canada from visiting Iran. Azhdari’s partner, Hamed Alibeiki, also died in the crash.

An associate professor at the school, Faisal Moola, confirmed in a post on Twitter that Azhdari, one of his PhD candidates, was on board.

“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,” read Moola's tweet.

Meanwhile, the CBC states that three enrollees at the University of Ottawa have also been confirmed as deceased.

Later on Wednesday, those three people were named as Mehraban Badiei, Alma Owladi, and Saeed Kashani.

Two University of Waterloo students, Marzieh Foroutan and Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani, are also thought to have perished.

In a statement provided to Narcity, U of Waterloo's president, Feridun Hamdullahpur, who is half Iranian by parentage, said: "Our hearts ache for them, their friends and family with whom we all mourn together. Mari and Mansour were part of a close-knit community of researchers here at Waterloo who will need our care and support."*

In addition, at least one University of Toronto attendee and a second-year York University student and Canadian permanent resident, Sadaf Hajiaghavand, 27, were also killed.

Hajiaghavand had been in Iran for 10 days visiting family, according to a friend.

And London's Western University has seen four tragedies, too, according to a tweet by the school.

It's not just those at university age who have reportedly perished, though.

Multiple pupils from the York Region District School Board are also believed to have been onboard the plane.

And, according to the Toronto Sun's Brian Passifiume, "a number" of Toronto District School Board students also perished, including a Grade 10 youth.

While the casualties among Ontario's student population are considerable, other areas of Canada have suffered, too. At least 27 Edmontonians, including children, are believed to have died.

Meanwhile, a handful of Montreal residents were among the victims, reportedly including a newlywed couple.

Apparently, the particular Ukrainian airline route through Kyiv was popular with Canadians of Iranian heritage due to the fact that there were no direct flights from Tehran and Toronto, according to the Toronto Star.

The investigation of the flight that killed 176 people is ongoing.

More information on all of the Canadians on board the flight can be found here.

*This article has been updated.


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.

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