PM meets families of Iran plane crash victims, as number of Canadians killed revised to 57

Foreign Affairs minister says 57 is the latest number after documents were checked

Photographs are left among candles at a memorial during a vigil in Toronto on Thursday, January 9, 2020, to remember the victims of the Iranian air crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

An international dispute over the cause of the Tehran plane crash deepened on Friday even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met the families of some of the dozens of Canadians killed in the crash and investigators scrambled to get into Iran.

The private conversations between Trudeau and the families of victims in Toronto were the latest attempt by the prime minister to reach out to those affected by Wednesday’s tragedy that killed 176 people.

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne has revised the number of Canadians killed in the crash to 57, down from an earlier estimate of at least 63. He says it’s a very fluid situation and 57 is the latest number after documents were checked.

Trudeau previously attended a vigil on Parliament Hill to remember the victims Thursday, only hours after asserting that multiple intelligence sources had indicated the Ukraine International Airlines flight was brought down by an Iranian missile, possibly by accident.

Other vigils and memorials were being held across the country Friday and are planned throughout the weekend. There were also reports that Canada was sending a 10-person team to Iran to help the families of the deceased.

While the federal government did not speak to those reports, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said representatives from Global Affairs Canada’s standing rapid deployment team and the Transportation Safety Board had arrived in Ankara, Turkey.

“To date, Iran has granted us two visas,” Champagne said on Twitter. “We are hoping the other visas will be approved soon so that we may begin to provide consular services, to help with the identification of victims and to participate in any investigation.”

Meanwhile, the dispute over exactly what happened to Flight 752 was heating up.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the highest-level American official to directly pin the blame on Iran, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australia’s Scott Morrison having made the same conclusions based on intelligence assessments.

“We do believe it is likely that that plane was shot down by an Iranian missile,” Pompeo said as he and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced new sanctions against Iran for having launched a salvo of missiles against two military bases in Iraq this week.

He said the U.S. will allow time for Canada to get resources on the ground in Iran and for the probe to wrap up, but added: “When we get the results of that investigation, I am confident that we and the world will take appropriate actions in response.”

Flight 752 went down shortly after Iran launched missile strikes against a military base in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, where Canadian special-forces soldiers have been operating for the past five years.

The attack, which did not cause any casualties, was in response to the U.S. having killed Iranian Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

READ MORE: Questions on cause of Iran plane crash stir fear, confusion

Iran denied any responsibility for the plane crash, blaming it on a fire in the Boeing 737-800’s engine even as it urged the U.S. to wait for the full investigation to conclude and to stop spreading lies and propaganda.

In a statement published by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, the Iranian government said: “We recommend the U.S. government to attend to the results of the investigations by the probe committee instead of scattering lies and engineering psychological warfare.”

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Snowmaggedon 2020’ has passed, but 20-30 milimetres of rain expected Friday

Residents should brace for rain and clear drains to prevent localized flooding

What happens in the Cowichan Valley when an earthquake strikes

When an earthquake does happen, will the Cowichan Valley be ready for it?

Exploring life, the afterlife, and near death experiences with Dr. Lynn Echevarria

Echevarria will deliver a talk to the LRCA Seniors Centre Tuesday, January 21 at 1:30 pm

Winter storm warning now in effect for Island’s east coast

Environment Canada issues new weather warning late Wednesday afternoon

Town of Ladysmith snow removal crews prepared to respond to overnight snowfall

10 to 15 centimetres of snow are expected for Ladysmith overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

Most Read