Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty expressed his condolences early Wednesday morning following a Ukrainian International Airlines crash in Iran that killed 63 Canadians.
“I was devastated to hear news that 63 of our fellow Canadians were killed in a plane crash in Iran last night and wish to express my heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families and friends of all those lost in this terrible tragedy,” said Doherty, who serves as the Conservative Shadow Minister of Transportation.
“I will do whatever I can to help their families find some form of closure. I think this is the second largest loss of Canadian lives potentially in a foreign aviation crash.”
On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said intelligence from multiple sources indicates that an Iranian missile downed the flight that crashed near Tehran on Wednesday.
Trudeau said he knew the news would come as a shock to grieving families, adding the strike might have been unintentional.
Ukrainian officials have said a missile is on their list of potential causes for the crash.
The plane crashed minutes after taking off from Tehran’s airport on Wednesday.
Mourners have been gathering at candlelight vigils across Canada in the days since to grieve the 176 victims, of which 138 of the passengers aboard the Kyiv-bound plane had a connecting flight to Canada.
They included newlyweds, families and academics, with many victims based out of Edmonton and associated to the University of Alberta. At least 13 victims were from B.C.
Eyewitnesses, including the crew of another flight passing above it, described seeing the plane engulfed in flames before crashing, the report says.
The crash caused a massive explosion when the plane hit the ground, likely because the aircraft had been fully loaded with fuel for the flight to Ukraine’s capital city.
It’s one of the worst losses of life for Canadians in an aviation disaster. In 1985 a bomb exploded and killed 329 people aboard an Air India flight. Air India Flight 182 from Montreal to New Delhi exploded over the Atlantic Ocean near Great Britain on June 23, 1985. Most of the victims were Canadian.
— With files from Canadian Press and Black Press Media