A total of 176 people were killed when a Ukraine International Airlines plane went down after takeoff near Tehran Wednesday, but there is still some uncertainty on the number of Canadian casualties.
The plane was carrying 63 Canadians, according to Ukrainian officials, but the number of passengers with Canadian connections is expected to be much higher. A total of 138 passengers aboard the plane were connecting to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference.
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne said in an earlier statement that “at least” 63 Canadians were among the dead, but that the situation remains “extremely fluid.”
Many on the flight were students and researchers at Canadian universities, while some may have been working in the country under temporary visas, meaning they would not be included among official lists of Canadians. The residency status of all the passengers is not yet clear.
Another factor in the uncertainty around the toll is that Iranian officials don’t recognize dual citizens, and has not necessarily included Canadians with dual citizenship in its tally. Iranian news sources said 147 passengers were Iranian while just 32 passengers were foreigners. That conflicts with the number released by Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, which listed 82 Iranians.
Since 2016, Canadian citizens, including dual Canadian citizens, need a valid Canadian passport when travelling to Canada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2020.
The Canadian Press