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Iran plane crash victim from University of Waterloo was home to see her mother

Click to play video: '63 Canadians among 176 killed in plane crash in Iran' 63 Canadians among 176 killed in plane crash in Iran
WATCH: 63 Canadians among 176 killed in plane crash in Iran – Jan 8, 2020

Mari Forutan was on her way back to Canada after a long-awaited trip to Iran to see her mom and sisters when the plane she was on, Ukraine Airlines Flight 752, went down near Tehran early Wednesday morning.

“She hadn’t seen her mother or her two sisters for three years, and so she decided to go there and stay a few weeks over the holidays,” Forutan’s friend Nastaran Sarabi told Global News.

READ MORE: Trudeau says Iranian missile likely brought down plane, killing dozens of Canadians

Sarabi says she was saddened when she heard that the plane went down but did not hear the devastating news about her friend until the following morning.

She first met Forutan when she arrived on the Waterloo campus to start her PHD studies after getting a Master’s degree from the University of Calgary.

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“I was at that time a senior PHD student and I tried to show her the community and help her connect to the Iranian community,” Sarabi explains.

She said the two bonded and became part of a social circle which included both Canadians and Iranians.

“She was really comfortable connecting with both Canadian and Iranian communities,” Sarabi explains.

She describes how her friend helped another foreign student acclimatize to living in Waterloo.

READ MORE: Iran plane crash: Here’s what we know about the victims who lived in Canada

“I remember there was a new exchange student came in coming from India and she was a little bit isolated. “Mari helped her a lot.

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“We are all busy in our research and we sometimes forgot to help others. But she was always thoughtful of others, very positive and very supportive.”

Click to play video: 'Ukraine considering several possible causes behind Iran plane crash' Ukraine considering several possible causes behind Iran plane crash
Ukraine considering several possible causes behind Iran plane crash – Jan 9, 2020

Both Forutan and Sarabi were part of the Duguay Research Group, “a team that looks at improving knowledge and understanding of lake/land-atmosphere interactions in cold (Arctic and Alpine) regions through the development of remote sensing technology and retrieval algorithms, and numerical models,” according to its website.

“She was really a hardworking scholar,” Sarabi said of her friend and colleague.

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