EDITOR’S NOTE: On Jan. 10, the Canadian government updated the number of Canadians killed in the Jan. 8 Ukraine International Airlines crash in Iran from 63 to 57.
Global News has confirmed a ninth victim from Winnipeg died in the Iran plane crash.
Farhad Niknam, 44, moved to Winnipeg with his family in 2016 to start a new life in Canada.
Niknam had previously owned his own dental practice in Iran for 15 years but his dream was to open a practice in Canada with his best friend Dr. Sanaz Viladi.
“We were classmates. He was one of the happiest, most kind… the best friend for everybody,” Viladi said. “For me (he) was one of my brothers.”
Viladi said the two of them had been friends for 25 years and she still can’t believe he is gone.
“It was a huge shock for me,” she said.
She told Global News Niknam had moved to Toronto with his wife, daughter Yanina, 7, and son two-year-old son Youna.
Viladi said Niknam had just passed his exams recently and was going to be starting as a dentist at her Toronto practice soon.
“He called me last week and said ‘Ok I passed all of my exam(s) and I get my licence next week and I’m ready to come to your practice and work together’ and that was the best news for me,” she said. “We were very close to get to our dream after 10 years.”
This brings the total to 9 for the number of Winnipeggers who died in a crash near Tehran, Iran’s capital city, early Wednesday morning.
Officials said 63 Canadians died in the crash that killed 176 people. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 138 of those on board were connecting to Canada.