Ottawa vigil to remember victims of Iran plane crash

Ottawa is mourning the loss of several residents who died in the Ukraine International Airlines crash at a vigil Thursday night at Parliament Hill.

Several of the 176 victims on board Flight PS752 that crashed outside Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport Wednesday lived in Ottawa.

CBC has so far confirmed the names of three: Carleton University PhD student Fareed Arasteh, denture technician Mansour Pourjam and tech entrepreneur Alireza Pey.

The University of Ottawa said it believes three of its students were in the crash but has yet to identify them by name.

"It's heart breaking I still can't believe it," said Kaveh Shakouri, the arts and culture director with the Iranian Arts and Cultural Society of Ottawa.

The group is organizing Thursday's vigil in Ottawa. It starts at 6 p.m. at Parliament Hill.

"To light a candle and just remember those students and residents of Ottawa who died," he said.

The Ukrainian embassy is also inviting the public to sign a book of condolences from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 310 Somerset St. West.

REUTERS

Among those who died in Wednesday's crash, Shakouri said he helped some of them settle into their new lives as students in Canada.

"As soon as the list of passengers came up, we started identifying our friends and families here," he said.

Shakouri knows eight Ottawa residents on the flight manifesto.

He has since called family of the victims in Iran. Some learned of the crash just as they got home after dropping their loved ones off at the airport, he said.

The Iranian Arts and Cultural Society of Ottawa is planning a memorial service for the victims next week in Ottawa.

Flags at Carleton University and Parliament Hill are among those at half-mast to mark the tragedy.