This story has been updated from a previous version to include more information.
By Madi Wong and Emma Sandri
Two Ryerson alumni were among the 176 passengers and crew that died in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in Tehran on Jan. 8.
Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi released a statement via Ryerson Today on Jan. 9 confirming that two engineering alumni, Mahsa Amirliravi and Mohsen Salahi, were among the victims of the crash.
“On behalf of Ryerson University, we extend our deepest sympathies to Mahsa and Mohsen’s families, friends and colleagues, and to everyone who has suffered loss in this terrible tragedy,” Lachemi’s statement reads.
He added that the university had lowered the flag in Kerr Hall Quad to half-mast “in recognition of this loss.”
Across Canada, universities and colleges are mourning the death of students and faculty in the wake of the accident in Iran.
CNN reported that the Iranian government has since admitted to shooting down the Ukraine International Airlines plane. They also claimed that human error played a role in the tragedy, mistaking the flight for a cruise missile.
The shoot down marked another escalation in the ongoing conflict between Iran and the United States. It was sparked after the United States assassinated major general Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Jan. 3. Iran retaliated shortly afterwards by firing missiles on American military bases in Iraq.
Among the 176 passengers and crew that died, 57 of them were Canadian.
The University of Toronto confirmed that six of its students were lost in the crash: Mojtaba Abbasnezhad, Mohammad Asadi Lari, Zeynab Asadi Lari, Mohammad Amin Beiruti, Mohammad Amin Jebelli and Mohammad Saleheh.
“On behalf of the entire University of Toronto community, I want to say how deeply saddened we are, and how concerned we are for the families and friends of those who lost their lives,” said University of Toronto president Meric Gertler.
In a statement, York University said that they lost one of their students, but “out of respect to those affected,” they have not yet publicly identified them.
George Brown College lost two students but did not identify them.
Centennial College, Fleming College and Ontario Tech University communities are also mourning the deaths of Dr. Razgar Rahimi, his spouse Farideh Gholami and their three-year-old son Jiwan. Rahimi was a part-time and seasonal faculty member at the schools.
Lachemi also reminded students, faculty and staff that the university has counselling and health services available and they can learn more about the services available at the Ryerson Centre for Student Development and Counselling.
“We understand how something of this nature can be difficult and upsetting for our community and that people may need to gather or seek individual resources to find support,” he stated.