A passenger aircraft bound for Ukraine has crashed just minutes after taking off from Tehran, killing 176 people, including 63 Canadians. All of the passengers and crew onboard are reported to have been killed in the crash, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning. In response to the news of the Iran plane crash, "63 Canadians" has been trending online, as Canadians pay tribute to those killed in the incident.
According to initial reports from Iranian emergency officials, all of the passengers and crew on board the Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) flight were killed in the crash, and Iran’s Red Crescent reported “no chance of finding survivors.”
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini international airport at 6:12 a.m. local time on Wednesday. Despite a successful take-off, the aircraft was unable to reach above 8,000 feet and is believed to have crashed just 10 minutes later.
Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs, Vadym Prystaiko, has confirmed that of the 176 victims on board, 82 were Iranian, 63 were Canadian and 11 were Ukrainian. There were also victims from Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Ukrainian officials said that 169 people had bought tickets for the flight but two had not boarded the plane.
The aircraft crashed in the Iranian city of Tehran just hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers, fuelling speculation that there was something suspicious about the downing of the plane. These suspicions have yet to be confirmed.
Both Ukrainian and Iranian officials have also reported a suspected mechanical issue that brought down the Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
In response to the harrowing news, Canadians have been taking to social media to pay tribute to all of the victims of the crash, and 63Canadians has been trending on Twitter.
Spoke to Foreign Minister of #Iran Javad Zarif @JZarif. Both expressed our condolences. Agreed to coordinate furthe… https://t.co/aRcKohsRKO— Vadym Prystaiko (@Vadym Prystaiko)1578481660.0
On Wednesday morning, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs tweeted to say, "Tragic news regarding Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. Our hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians."
He continued, "I have been in touch with the government of Ukraine. We will continue to keep Canadians informed as the situation evolves."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau retweeted this message in both English and French.
He also released a statement saying "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. 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."*
Tragic news regarding Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. Our hearts are with the loved ones of the victims,… https://t.co/9jjEzHJD4K— François-Philippe Champagne (FPC) 🇨🇦 (@François-Philippe Champagne (FPC) 🇨🇦)1578486345.0
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also took to Twitter to acknowledge the tragedy, posting, "There are no words. 176 lives lost. 63 Canadians won’t be coming home."
There are no words. 176 lives lost. 63 Canadians won’t be coming home. These families deserve clear answers, but… https://t.co/KFv0ttDfd7— Jagmeet Singh (@Jagmeet Singh)1578489428.0
Ukraine International Airlines, which has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely, issued a statement that the aircraft was built in 2016 and underwent its most recent scheduled maintenance on Monday.
"UIA expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims," the statement says.
Under international rules, responsibility for investigating the incident lies with Iran, and Iranian state television has confirmed that both of the plane's black boxes have been found.
*This story has been updated.