'The whole community is mourning': Local Iranians coming together in North Vancouver
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Iranian-Canadians living in North Vancouver are coming together in the wake of the Tehran plane crash that sent shock waves through the tight-knit community.
“The amount of tragedy is so big that it hit us all very much. The whole community is mourning,” said Shideh Taleban, a local librarian.
Taleban said with each passing hour after the news broke, the depth of the tragedy grew as people started learning the identities of the people on board PS752, which took off from Tehran’s main airport and crashed minutes later.
“We were beginning to learn the victims...people were recognizing their friends and family. Hour by hour, the stress level, the sadness was harder,” Taleban said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said among the 176 dead, 138 of them were bound for Canada, including 63 Canadian citizens.
Many of the victims identified had been in Iran to visit loved ones over the December break.
“We constantly go back to Iran, we visit with our family and friends back there and this could happen to any of us,” Taleban said.
There are two growing memorials in North Vancouver: one set up at Civic Plaza and the second outside of Amir Bakery, where the owner’s wife and teenage daughter died on the flight.
Dozens of people attended a vigil outside of the bakery Wednesday night. More people stopped by the shop Thursday morning on their way to work.
“I’m a mother of a high school student who attended school with one of the victims, so I just wanted the dad to know that he’s not alone in this terrible tragedy. I just think it is a terrible loss. Flowers and candles, I think, help show support — it’s all I can do at this time,” said Cheryl Mitchell.
Taleban said an active online community of local Iranians are opening up their homes and offering rides to those impacted by the crash.
“We know that the healing that comes from community support is hopefully going to give us some peace,” she said.