UPDATE, Thursday Jan. 9, 10:30 a.m.
Global news has confirmed a ninth person from Winnipeg died in the crash. For more on that story, head here.
Global news has confirmed at least eight Winnipeggers died during a plane crash that killed 63 Canadians in Tehran, Iran.
Among the dead are two University of Manitoba students and a staff member, a family of three, and a mother and son.
The family, including Mehdi Sadeghi, 43, Anisa Sadeghi, 10, and Bahareh Haj Esfandiari, 41, were confirmed dead by Bahareh’s workplace, Welcome Place.
Forough Khadem, 38, also died in the crash. The former Ph. D student at the University of Manitoba worked in the field of immunology and worked with CancerCare Manitoba.
Khadem and her Ph. D supervisor had a conversation by text just before she boarded the plane.
When Dr. Jude Uzonna asked her if she was well, Khadem replied: “I am ok. My flight back is tonight. Hopefully see you soon. Just a bit worried with the current news going on!!”
Amirhossien Ghasemi, 32, was a grad student of biomedical engineering the University of Manitoba and a doctor.
Amir Shirzadi, a board member with the Manitoba Iranian Student Association, said his good friend Ghasemi was on his way back to Winnipeg after visiting family in Iran.
“I saw him before he left the country,” said Shirzadi, who added that the two played games together.
“I can’t use past tense. I think he’s coming back. We play again. We talk again. It’s too difficult to use past tense, too difficult. No one can believe it.”
Amirhossien Ghasemi, 32.
Ghasemi’s professor, Zahara Moussavi told Global News he was a bright student who was planning on getting married in the coming months.
“He got back to Iran to get engaged,” she said. “He was supposed to get married in summer.”
The others have been identified as Amirhossien Ghorbani, 21, as well as Farzahen Naderi, 38, and her son Nozhan Sadr, 11.
Pembina Trails School Division confirmed two of their students died in the crash. Superintendent Ted Fransen said they would not be confirming names or ages of the students but did say they were in Grades 5 and 6.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 138 of those on board were connecting to Canada.
The crash, which killed everyone on board, happened early Wednesday morning, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers.
Ukrainian and Iranian officials have both said a mechanical issue likely caused the Ukraine International Airline‘s Boeing 737-800 aircraft to crash.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, Trudeau said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news of the crash and offered his condolences.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to those who have lost family, friends, and loved ones in this tragedy,” the statement reads. “Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that this crash is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians’ questions are answered.”
Premier Brian Pallister said he was sad to hear about the crash.
“We mourn alongside the families and friends of the Manitobans who were tragically taken from us. We also grieve for all other passengers and crew aboard Flight PS752, which included 63 Canadians.
“On behalf of all Manitobans and all members of the Manitoba legislature, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you during this very difficult time.
“The provincial flag will fly at half-mast in Memorial Park, in memory of all the victims.”
The University of Manitoba also lowered its flag to half-mast Wednesday to honour the victims, including those with ties to the school.
-With files from Hannah Jackson and The Canadian Press