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'Sorry we lost you': Grief-stricken Canadians react to cause of plane crash
PORT COQUITLAM -- Relatives of a Port Coquitlam family killed in the Ukrainian Airlines crash in Iran are reeling after news their loved ones were lost due to what the Iranian government is describing as "human error."
“It’s unbelievable, it’s really tragic,” said Babak Razzaghi.
Razzaghi’s Sister Niloofar Razzaghi was travelling home from vacation with her teenage son Kamyar Ebnoddin-Hamidi and husband Ardalan Ebnoddin-Hamidi on board the doomed airplane.
“This is a disaster and we are heartbroken, all of us,” he said.
Razzaghi’s brother-in-law Mahmoudreza Mivehchi was lost for words trying to describe the loss of his family members.
“Sorry we lost you,” Mivehchi said while speaking to a picture of his loved ones. “Rest in peace and know you are always in our mind.”
After days of denial, Iranian officials finally admitted to what the rest of the world had accused them of: shooting down the plane.
The country's president Hassan Rouhani tweeted: "Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash."
“Investigations continue to identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake,” Rouhani added.
Hours later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded Iran take full responsibility and compensate victims.
"I am of course outraged and furious that families across this country are grieving the loss of their loved ones and that the Iranian-Canadian community is suffering," Trudeau said.
But for many Iranian-Canadians – who organized vigils from coast to coast to remember the dead – the damage is done.
“It's a really deep wound,” said Elly Habibullah, one of many mourners at a vigil at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
"To be honest, it doesn't matter at this point if this is a mistake or accident,” said Razzaghi. “The main thing is I lost my loved ones: my sister, my brother-in-law and nephew. He was only 15 years old."