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Two UW students among those killed in plane crash in Iran

Marzieh Foroutan and Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani were both PhD students
Photo from The Associated Press

Dozens of Canadians - some university students - were among the 176 people killed when a Ukrainian passenger plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Tehran's main airport, Iranian and Ukrainian authorities said on Wednesday.

The University of Waterloo confirms to 570 NEWS, two PhD students from UW, Marzieh Foroutan and Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani, were listed on the passenger manifest of the flight.

The president of UW says everyone at the university is shocked and saddened by the news.

"Our hearts ache for them, their friends and family with whom we all mourn together. Mari and Mansour were part of a close-knit community of researchers here at Waterloo who will need our care and support." Feridun Hamdullahpur said in a statement. "We are united with the Canadian academic community and all Canadian-Iranians in grieving the loss of Mari and Mansour and the loss of so many other students and researchers from across Canada. As we grieve, we will support the family, friends and co-workers of those who have died and keep them in our thoughts at this most difficult of times."

Students and staff at UW who need any support are being asked to contact the following resources:

Counselling Services - 519-888-4567 ext. 32655
UW MATES (Mentor Assistance Through Education and Support)
Here 24/7 - 1-844-437-3247
Health Services - Student Medical Clinic - 519-888-4096
Grand River Hospital - 519-749-4300
St. Mary's Hospital - 519-744-3311
Good2Talk - 1-866-925-5454
Crisis Services Canada - 1-833-456-4566 or by text 45645 
Employee and Family Assistance Provider (Homewood Health) - 1-800-663-1142
Occupational Health - Linda Brogden at ext. 36264 or Karen Parkinson at ext. 30338

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the passengers killed on flight PS752. This hits particularly close to home as two UW Ph.D. students were on that flight, and are gone far too soon." tweeted Waterloo Mayor, Dave Jaworsky.

Two students at the University of Guelph were also killed in the crash - Ghanimat Azdahri and Milad Ghasemi Ariani were both PhD students at the university.

University president Franco Vaccarino says his thoughts go out to the two students' families.

The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 was en route to Kyiv when it went down in a field.

Authorities initially said it appeared mechanical failure was to blame, but later took that back, saying nothing had been ruled out.

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Wednesday he had been in touch with the government of Ukraine. 

"Our hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians," Champagne tweeted. 

Meantime, Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canada will offer technical assistance in the crash investigation.

The crash comes amid increased tension in the region following the American assassination of a top Iranian general near Baghdad and retaliatory missile attacks on U-S bases in Iraq.

with files from The Canadian Press


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