Relatives of the seven people killed in a Kingston, Ont., plane crash last week are in a race against time to bid their loved ones a final goodbye, as religious protocol requires the bodies be prepared for burial as soon as they're received from the coroner Thursday.
A funeral service is scheduled for the victims on Friday in Toronto, but several immediate family members living in Uzbekistan were still making travel arrangements to Canada on Thursday.
"We are dealing with a situation, a very delicate situation, where time is against us," said Ilhomjon Kasymov, a family friend who is organizing the funeral.
He said the relatives living abroad — including the parents of the victims — were still booking flights.
Toronto resident Bobomurod Nabiev and his wife Sabina Usmanova were killed on Nov. 27 when their plane crashed in a wooded area near Creekford Road and Bayridge Drive in Kingston.
The pilot, Otabek Oblokulov, who was Nabiev's brother-in-law, was also killed along with his wife and three children. The family had been living in Houston.
As of last weekend, investigators with the Transportation Safety Board had inspected the crash site and were starting to look into the cause. The 1965 Cherokee Six plane that went down was barely recognizable as a result of the crash. Parts of it were taken to a TSB lab in Richmond Hill.
The funeral service for all of the victims is scheduled to take place at the Jame Abu Bakr Siddique Mosque in Scarborough on Friday shortly after prayers at 1 p.m.
The bodies of six of the family members will then be taken to the Toronto Muslim Cemetery in Richmond Hill to be buried, Kasymov said. The body of Nabiev's wife is expected to be taken back to Uzbekistan for burial.
'An outstanding Torontonian'
Kasymov was close friends with Nabiev and his wife, and said he often acted as a mentor to Nabiev. He remembers his friend as someone with "a great smile" and who was always offering his help to others.
"He turned out to be an outstanding Torontonian and was everything that we expect a new Canadian to be," Kasymov said.
A GoFundMe campaign that Kasymov set up to cover the cost of Nabiev and Usmanova's funeral had raised more than $34,000 as of Thursday at noon. A similar GoFundMe campaign for Oblokulov and his family had raised almost $39,000.
The family friend said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from the community.
"Ordinary Canadians have been offering their condolences," he said.
"We feel that our small Uzbek community is not alone in this tragedy. The support has demonstrated the solidarity and unity among Canadians who are always ready to help each other in difficult times regardless of our differences."