Canada’s foreign minister said Wednesday he’s been in touch with the government of Ukraine upon learning that 63 Canadians died in a Ukrainian passenger jet, just minutes after taking off from Iran’s capital.
Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne called it tragic news and said Wednesday that Canada’s “hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians.” He vowed to keep Canadians informed as the situation evolves.
The crash of the Ukraine International Airlines plane came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing US soldiers, but Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the 3½-year-old Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Ukrainian officials initially agreed, but later backed away and declined to offer a cause while the investigation is ongoing.
Iran is refusing to hand over for analysis the black boxes from the plane to Boeing, according to Iranian media.
Ukraine International Airlines noted the plane was relatively new, in good condition, and had an experienced crew.
The plane carried 167 passengers and nine crew members from different nations. No one on board survived.
It’s one of the worst losses of life for Canadians in a aviation disaster. In 1985 a bomb exploded and killed 329 people aboard an Air India flight. Air India Flight 182 from Montreal to New Delhi exploded over the Atlantic Ocean near Great Britain on June 23, 1985. Most of the victims were Canadian.
Canada closed its embassy in Iran in 2012 and suspended diplomatic relations.
Canada is urging Canadians to avoid nonessential travel to Iran due to the volatile security situation, but the travel advisory makes no mention of the plane crash.