Rescue workers carry the body of a victim of an Ukrainian plane crash in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. A Ukrainian airplane carrying 176 people crashed on Wednesday shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport, killing all onboard. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

‘People are in shock’: Iran plane crash will reverberate across Canada, B.C. prof says

Death toll includes 63 Canadians, 11 of them British Columbians

A Ukranian jetliner that crashed minutes after takeoff from an Iranian airport, killing all 176 on board, is now being linked to a ballistic missile attack by Irani forces – news that will certainly impact the nation’s anxiety and grief, says a Greater Victoria professor.

READ MORE: Family of three, international students killed in Iran plane crash

The death toll includes dozens of Canadians, at least 13 of whom were living in B.C.

“I think most Canadians are probably in a complete state of shock about what’s happened,” said Kenneth Christie, professor and program head for Royal Roads University’s Human Security and Peacebuilding graduate programs. “This is a national disaster. I think it’s going to take a long time. People are in shock and it’s obviously going to take quite some time for healing.”

RELATED: First-year UVic student among the 176 victims of Iran plane crash

According to an initial Iranian investigative report released Thursday, Flight PS752, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukranian International Airlines, was on fire and attempting to get back to the Tehran airport when it crashed after reaching nearly 8,000 feet of altitude. The report says the flight crew never made a radio call for help.

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, released a ‘readout’ of his conversation with the Iranian foreign minister in which the Canadian official “stressed the need” for Canadian officials to get quick access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identifying the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash.

RELATED: Iran says Ukrainian plane was on fire, tried to turn back before crash

The crash followed a week of escalating U.S.-Iran tensions, starting with an American drone strike that killed top Iranain commander Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad Jan. 3. U.S. military forces were evicted from the region, and Iranian state television reported that Iran would no longer abide by limits of its 2015 nuclear deal.

“Canada typically follows the line that the U.S. follows in terms of its foreign policy,” Christie said. “Though I think in this case there’s probably some upset that the U.S. went and conducted the drone strike against Soleimani on their own.”

RELATED: Iran warns US to not retaliate over missile attack in Iraq

On the same morning the plane crashed, Iran launched missile attacks on Iraq bases where American, Canadian and allied troops were stationed, announcing the strikes as retaliation for Soleimani’s killing. U.S. officials now say it is “highly likely” that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed the jetliner.

“Precisely at that moment in time and just a few hours before, Iran was launching missiles at American air bases in Iraq and there is some speculation that a missile might have hit the plane,” Christie said. “I think that kind of uncertainty about what happened, and the fact that the Iranians have not handed over the black box … I think that uncertainty and ambiguity exacerbated all that worry and anxiety and tension.

“Part of that will be about closure, to know what happened in those final moments,” he added.

RELATED: ‘Highly likely’ Iran downed Ukrainian jetliner: US officials

With files from the Associated Press.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Alberni packs 500 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in 2019

Worldwide distribution begins for annual humanitarian aid campaign

BCHL: Comeback falls short for Alberni Valley Bulldogs

Visiting Langley Rivermen take the 3-2 win on Parents Weekend

Alberni floor curlers win tournament in Nanoose Bay

Four teams from Port Alberni compete on the road

Award-winning documentary shares the modern story of Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Broadcast premiere of documentary will take place in Port Alberni on Jan. 29

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read