Ottawa's Iraqi community is grieving the death of two young men killed in a single-vehicle rollover on Baseline Road over the weekend.
Amer Abbas and Ali Abdulameer were taken to hospital in critical condition after the car they were in crashed just west of Fisher Avenue Saturday afternoon.
According to police, they were heading east on Baseline Road when the car hopped the median, crashed into a field at the Central Experimental Farm and rolled.
"There are no words to express the sadness," said Ibtihaj Mahdy, president of the Ottawa branch of the Iraqi Canadian Society of Ontario, on Tuesday.
"Everybody is heartbroken today."
Funeral held Tuesday night
The society raised some funds to assist the two families with their funeral costs.
"Everyone was willing to donate," said Mahdy, who added the society is still getting calls from people wishing to donate. Several thousand dollars had been collected by Tuesday.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Abo Ther al Ghafari Mosque Tuesday night for the funeral of the two men.
"It's such a tragic loss for the community," said Mohammad Issa, also a member of the Iraqi Canadian Society of Ontario.
"Even the people who don't know Ali and don't know Amer gathered [at the mosque] because they feel the pain for the families."
'Where's my son? Where is Ali?'
Issa once lived on the same street as Abdulameer's mother in Baghdad and remains a close family friend now that they've all relocated to Ottawa.
The woman was in Turkey visiting relatives when she learned her son had been in an accident, and cut her trip short to return home to Ottawa. Issa met her at the airport Tuesday and drove her home to her family, who told her Abdulameer had died.
"She started screaming, 'Where's my son? Where is Ali? You lied at me. You said he was at the hospital,'" Issa recalled.
They had been afraid to tell her the truth over the phone, fearing she'd have a medical emergency.
"We didn't tell her. She might [have gone] through a heart attack," Issa said.
Issa helped bring Abdulameer's mother to the funeral home shortly after she arrived so she could say goodbye to her son before burial Wednesday.
Ottawa police, meanwhile, are still working to determine the cause of the crash and say speed is a possible factor.