Following the alleged shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 by Iran using a Russian-made surface-to-air missile on Wednesday, which resulted in the deaths of all 176 passengers, communities around the world have been reeling and setting up vigils in the wake of the tragedy.
The crash of the plane caused the deaths of 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, 4 Afghans, 3 Germans and 3 Britons.
In Canada, the loss of life has caused an outpouring of grief in the Iranian-Canadian community, with numerous communities in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia suffering losses. Many of the Canadian victims included young families and children, academics and newlyweds making their way back to Canada.
Arash Pourzarabi, 26, and Pouneh Gourji, 25, who were both graduate students in computer science at the University of Alberta, had gone to Iran for their wedding, said Reza Akbari, president of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton.
Another couple, Siavash Ghafouri Azar and Sara Mamani, had also just married in Iran, according to a Montreal university professor who taught Azar. The couple, both engineers, had just bought a house in a Montreal suburb.
Alvand Sadeghi, 30, a talented pianist who played for guests at his 2018 wedding, had moved to Toronto last April to join his wife, a family friend told Reuters. Both Sadeghi and his wife, Negar Borghei, were killed in the crash along with his sister and her daughter.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 138 people on the plane were connecting to a flight to Canada.
“All had so much potential, so much life ahead of them,” Trudeau told reporters, adding Canada expected to have a role in the crash investigation.
In Edmonton, dozens of people huddled in front of the Alberta legislature in frigid -16 Celsius (3.2 F) temperatures to remember the dead. Mourners wept and hugged, lighting small tealight candles in the darkness to weigh down printout photos of loved ones.
University of Alberta President David Turpin said at least 10 members of the university community had died, including students, faculty and alumni.
Among the victims was Mojgan Daneshmand, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Alberta, “a brilliant, brilliant lady, very smart,” the Heritage Society’s Akbari said.
Her husband, Pedram Mousavi, a professor of mechanical engineering at the same college, and the couple’s two daughters, also died in the crash.
In Ukraine, black ribbons and flags were placed at a vigil at the Kyiv Boryspil International Airport to commemorate the victims of the tragedy, which included all 9 members of the crew, pilots Volodymyr Gaponenko and Oleksiy Naumkin, first officer Serhiy Khomenko, senior flight attendants Kateryna Statnik and Ihor Matkov, and flight attendants Maria Mykytiuk, Denys Lykhno, Yulia Sologub and Valeriia Ovcharuk and passengers Olena Malakhova, CEO of SkyAviatrans and Olga Kobiuk, on a visit to her daughter and grandson.
Memorials and tributes were also set up in Sweden to honor the victims of the tragedy. Victims include Madhi Emami, and 18-year-ol student from Stenungsund, and two young boys from Stockholm.
In the UK, tributes were paid to Kadkhoda Zadeh, who ran a neighborhood dry cleaner, Savvas Savvidis, a landlord and friend of Zadeh and Sam Zokaei, an employee of BP.
Reuters, BBC, The Local Sweden and Kyiv Post contributed to this report.