Western University is mourning the loss of four of its students, who are among the victims of a plane crash in Tehran.
Western confirmed the students were Ghazal Nourian, Milad Nahavandi, Hadis Hayatdavoudi and Sajedeh Saraeian.
Ghazal Nourian was a Ph.D. student at Nanophotonic Energy Materials, Milad Nahavandi was a Ph.D. student at Industrial Bio Product Lab, and Hadis Hayatdavoudi was a Ph.D. student at Electrochemistry and Corrosion Science Centre.
Sajedeh Saraeian was an incoming MSC student about to start in the Chemical Engineering program.
Fellow Iranian and chemistry Ph.D student Rose Karimi said when they found out that Hayatdavoudi and the other students had been killed, they could hardly believe it.
Karimi was at the memorial held in Western’s International & Graduate Affairs Building to honour the students who were killed.
Hundreds showed up to pay their respects, including Western’s president Alan Shepard, MPP Terence Kernaghan, and London Mayor Ed Holder.
Karimi said it meant a lot to see the support form the community.
“I feel like we are important to the community, to the university, to Canada, that they care about us, and it really means a lot to us.”
Holder said London stands with Western and those affected.
“It’s too tragic. it’s too sad, but their spirit will live on through the spirit of the people in this room, and this that indomitable spirit that will carry people through this sad tragedy.”
London City Hall is flying its flags at half-mast to honour the victims of the crash.
The Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 was headed to Kyiv when it went down in Iran on Jan. 8.
The crash reportedly killed everyone on board.
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystaiko said 63 Canadians, 82 Iranians and 11 Ukrainians were on board, and the Ukrainian nationals included two passengers and the nine crew. There were also 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals on the plane.
“Recently, a lot of students are using that airline,” Western health and rehab sciences Ph.D. student Mojgan Farahani said.
“We are all so shocked and sad because it was not only these four people, it’s a community and although we are all scattered across Canada, we all have a lot of mutual friends.”
Farahani said they are shocked because it could have easily been any one of them.
“We grieve their loss and the other passengers aboard this flight,” Shepard said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened, and it’s important for all of us to come together as a caring community.”
Western chemistry professor James Noel said Hayatdavoudi was one of his Ph.D. students.
The Western professor said fellow students are in a ‘state of shock’ over the loss.
According to Noel, Hayatdavoudi was in Iran visiting family over the holidays and was on her way back to Canada to continue her studies when the plane went down.
The university said counselling for students impacted by the events is also available.
Immediate supports are available today in Western International’s Chu Centre, in IGAB, starting at 12:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Student Experience will have counsellors available at Western International for individual grief counselling starting at 2 p.m., continuing until 9 p.m.
Counselling services are always available to support students. Walk-in Crisis Support is available on-campus from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday at Student Health Services, University Community Centre (UCC), Room 11.