Amir Moradi, a 21-year-old Queen’s University student who died in a plane crash, was intelligent, exceptionally kind, ambitious and a big Machester United fan — that’s how a good friend described him a day after learning of his death.
Mohammad and Moradi met in 2017 when they were taking classes together as first-year students.
“We were in separate programs, but we just connected in the lecture and then in the residence — and then we’ve been friends ever since,” Mohammad said in an interview on Thursday.
Along with his propensity for soccer — the two played intramurals at Queen’s their first year — and his dedication to his friends, Mohammad said Moradi had a very strong sense of family.
“He was always trying to make his parents proud.”
Moradi was in his third year of bio-technology at Queen’s University, and had dreams about going into medical school in the future.
During the summers, Mohammad said Moradi would go back to Richmond Hill, Ont. — where he finished high school after moving to Canada from Iran — and volunteer at hospitals in Toronto.
But Moradi was not the type of person to limit his options. He was one of the “smartest of his friend group,” according to Mohammad.
“He also had the ambitions of entrepreneurship, and he was planning to develop an app as well,” Mohammad said about Moradi.
His Facebook account shows at the end of his high school years, he was actively involved in the Toronto Model United Nations.
Moradi’s is one of many tragic stories that are surfacing around Canada since Wednesday, when Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed after taking off from Tehran, Iran, killing all passengers on board.
Of the 176 passengers bound for Kyiv that day, 138 were scheduled to connect to Canada, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Mohammad said that Moradi and his family were in Iran over the winter break, and when the plane crashed, he was on the flight back home alone. He believes Moradi’s parents are still in Iran but he can’t be sure.
He said Moradi texted him not long before the flight took off. The message described how much he missed his friends at Queen’s and how he was looking forward to coming back.
“I was one of the last people he talked to,” Mohammad said.
He also said he only learned of his friend’s passing on Thursday morning, a day after the plane crashed.
“I couldn’t believe it. I still kind of don’t believe it. I think I’m still in shock, but I still feel like he’s going to come back.”
Initially, despite many universities reporting Canadian students dying in the crash, Queen’s University announced on Wednesday that no student or faculty was on the plane. A day later, Patrick Deane, principal of Queen’s University, announced they had received new information, and eventually released Moradi’s name.
A vigil to remember him, and the many other people who died during the crash, is organized in part by the university, the Alma Mater Society and the Iranian Students Association of Queen’s University.
Global News spoke to Mohammad before the memorial. He said he and all of Moradi’s friends from the university would be attending, and that in one way, he’s was slightly anxious about going.
“I’m just kind of nervous about it, you know… I guess it makes it more real.”
Nevertheless, Mohammad said he was glad there was a time organized to allow him and his friends to mourn Moradi, and the others who lost their lives in the plane crash.
“Everyone at Queen’s that knew him are just sharing memories of him,” Mohammad said, fighting back emotion. “And all of them were saying he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, including me.”
The vigil for Moradi and the other 176 passengers took place at the John Deutsch University Centre on Queen’s campus at 5 p.m. on Friday.