Multiple US media reports were confirmed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who revealed on Thursday that the Ukrainian International Airlines plane crash that killed 176 people is believed to have been caused by an Iranian missile.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources including our allies’ and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” said Trudeau while addressing the nation on January 9th.
“This may well have been unintentional. This new information reinforces the need for a thorough investigation into this matter.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides Canadians with an update about the fatal plane crash in Iran. pic.twitter.com/Rrcfdv3jSp
— CanadianPM (@CanadianPM) January 10, 2020
All 176 people aboard the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 bound for Kyiv died after the plane crashed just minutes after departing from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport in Iran on the morning of Wednesday January 8th.
A video obtained and verified by the New York Times shows what appears to be a missile hitting the plane and causing a small explosion. Other verified videos show the plane flying back to the airport before exploding.
Iranian news agency ISNA quoted the head of Iran’s of Civil Aviation Organization, Ali Abedzadeh, denying reports that the airplane was hit by an Iranian missile.
“Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumors are illogical,” ISNA quoted Abedzadeh.
82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, and others from Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the UK perished in the Ukrainian Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane crash on Wednesday.
The crash took place on the same day that Iran fired over a dozen missiles at air bases in Iraq that housed US forces, in retaliation for the killing of General Qasem Soleimani.
The ‘black boxes’ and cockpit voice recorders from the aircraft were found by Iranian authorities in damaged condition.
Authorities say they will allow Canadian, Ukrainian and US officials access to the materials, saying earlier reports to the contrary were made in error.
Victoria student among the deceased
Ukrainian International Airlines officially released the list of passengers on the flight, confirming that at least 15 of the deceased were residents of British Columbia.
One of the passengers, Roja Omidbakhsh, was a 23-year-old first-year student enrolled in the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.
The University issued a message expressing condolences after news of her death was made public.
“It is always a profound loss for the entire community when we lose someone, and our hearts and thoughts go out to Roja’s loved ones. UVic extends its deepest condolences as we join in mourning her loss,” said President Jamie Cassels in a statement.
One of Omidbaksh’s professors from her first semester at UVic remembers her as a mature, positive student who had a presence in his commerce class.
“Roja was very positive and had a keen interest in marketing. She was on the pathway to complete a bachelor of commerce,” said Professor Mark Colgate said. “We’re heartbroken that this happened and our condolences go to her family and classmates.”
In remembrance of Omidbaksh, the university has lowered its flag to half-staff, and counselling services are made available to members of the campus community that have been affected by this tragedy.