A Ukrainian International Airlines plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday, bursting into flames and killing all 176 people on board, including 63 Canadians.
The passenger jet, Flight PS752, crashed on Wednesday just minutes after taking off from Tehran’s main airport, turning farmland into fields of flaming debris.
Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Vadym Prystaiko said 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians were on board — the Ukrainian nationals included two passengers and the nine crew. There were also 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals, he said.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Canada was offering technical assistance to the impending investigation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “shocked and saddened,” and he and his wife Sophie extended their condolences to those who lost loved ones.
“Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that this crash is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians’ questions are answered,” said Trudeau. “Today, I assure all Canadians that their safety and security is our top priority. We also join with the other countries who are mourning the loss of citizens.”
François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, said earlier he was in touch with the Ukrainian government.
“We will continue to keep Canadians informed as the situation evolves,” he said.
The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers, but Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the 3½-year-old Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Ukrainian officials initially concurred, but later backed away and declined to offer a cause.
Air Canada is the only Canadian carrier with flights in the region, and Transport Canada confirmed on Tuesday evening that the airline had altered some of its routes in light of those tensions, following a directive by the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S for commercial airlines.
Airline officials said most of the passengers on Flight 752 were en route to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, transiting through to other destinations.