Pictures of the men and women lost after a Ukrainian Airlines plane was shot down in Iran were illuminated by candlelight Friday night in Calgary.
A vigil was held at Tomkins Park on 17 Ave S.W. for the 57 Canadians killed in Wednesday’s crash, which Iranian officials confirmed Saturday was shot down “unintentionally” by its military.
Attendees during the Friday vigil were largely made up of people from Calgary’s Iranian-Canadian community.
“It’s a very close-knit community and when a tragedy like that happens anywhere in the world we’re all affected by it,” Sasan Sharifi-Jamali said.
Some of those lighting candles and laying bouquets knew victims personally.
Ramin Hooshang was close with 47-year-old Kasra Saati, who had spent the holidays with his family in Iran.
Saati was an experienced engineer and most recently worked for Viking Air Ltd. at an aircraft assembly plant in Calgary.
“He was so smart,” Hooshang said.
“Whatever certification and diploma you can get in Canada, he got them all. And in a short time. It was so, so amazing.”
Hooshang said Saati picked up English quickly and enjoyed lecturing and conducting presentations. Saati was also instrumental in helping Hooshang move to Canada.
“He said don’t move here in the winter, wait for the spring,” Hooshang recalled.
“Especially in the first week we came here, we didn’t know anything. He helped me a lot to get settled here.”
Also lost in the crash was 19-year-old high school student Arshia Arbabbahrami, a driven young man who wanted to be a doctor or an Olympian.
Premier Jason Kenney said he’s considering a larger provincially supported public memorial should the community need it, in the weeks to come.