Doctors, engineers, a teenage boy: Metro Vancouver mourns local plane crash victims
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. -- North Vancouver is home to the largest communities of Iranian Canadians in the country, and at least seven of them died in the Ukraine International Airlines crash near Tehran Tuesday night.
Homa Ghazi collapsed outside Amir Bakery on Lonsdale Street Wednesday, after learning her friends Ayeshe Pourghaderi and Fatemeh Pasavand, a mother and daughter who helped run that family business, died in the disaster.
“They are very good family, they open their store, I went to her house,” she sobbed. “They are very good person.“
Photographer Arash Azrahami took the pair’s passport photos for the trip to Iran.
“It was our close friend and customer, I'm shocked,” he said.
Husband and father Amir Pasavand stayed home to run the bakery, but told his wife and daughter they had to return to North Vancouver early after he got a surprise email from Immigration Canada.
“Their dad came to my studio last night at the exact time of the flight. He asked me to print some documents for citizenship. He told me in two days they have their citizenship exam.”
Pasavand is now headed to Iran to arrange two funerals. His daughter was a student at Carson Graham Secondary School.
Azrahami has also met and photographed North Vancouver victims Daniel Saket, an engineer, and his wife Fatemeh Kazerani, a dental hygienist.
Kimia Pourshaban Oshibi, a 19-year-old North Vancouver student, lost her parents in the crash. Nasar Pourshaban Oshibi and Firouzeh Madani were both doctors.
“I feel sad for the dreams that my parents had but couldn't achieve it, their time was cut short,” said their daughter, who had been in Iran with her parents, but came home a week ago to resume classes.
“He was a very inquisitive person. He loved research. He loved reading. He taught me how to read at three years old. He thought it was the best thing he could give me, the best gift,” Pourshaban Oshibi said.
She fought back tears when asked what she would remember most about her mother.
“I will miss the open conversations with my mom," she said. "We were very close. She was very open and we discussed a lot.”
A Port Coquitlam family of three – Ardalan Ebnoddin-Hamidi, his wife Niloofar Razzaghi, and their 15 year old son Kamyar were on their way home from a two week vacation when the plane went down. He was an engineer, and she a teacher on call. Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart knew the family.
“They were really passionate about democracy. They organized all-candidates meetings during election campaigns, they organized festivals. They were there in every facet of Coquitlam life,” Stewart said. “There's no question that this is a tragedy. There's going to be a lot of tears shed over this loss.”
Langara College is reporting one of its students, 26-year-old Delaram Dadashnejad, was among the victims. She was taking university transfer classes and had gone home to Iran for the holidays.
The University of British Columbia said two of its former students have died: Mohammadhossein Asadi-Lari and his sister Zeynab Asadi-Lar.
A postdoctoral research fellow working in UBC's department of civil engineering also died. Mehran Abtahi had just joined the school in October.
With so many Canadian victims, it’s likely the names of more Metro Vancouver victims will be revealed in the coming days.