Friends and family of two of the young men from Toronto killed recently in a car crash in Dubai say they're still trying to comprehend the news.
- Friends come to grips with Toronto men killed in Dubai crash
- James Portuondo identified as 2nd Dubai Ferrari crash victim
- Cody Nixon, a former boxer, killed in Dubai Ferrari crash
Over the weekend, a Ferrari slammed into a lamppost in Dubai and sliced in half, killing all three occupants. Toronto boxer and world traveller Cody Nixon was first to be identified as one of the victims.
On Monday, 27-year-old James Portuondo was identified as the second Canadian killed in a crash.
"James was like the sun. He was full of life. So to me, it's not real yet," said Michael Hasti, Portuondo's best friend. "He's the centre of the attention ... everybody loves him."
John Vernon told CBC News he's known Portuondo for 15 years and he still doesn't believe his friend was killed in the crash.
"It was surreal. I still don't believe it because I didn't get to say good bye to him and I didn't know he was even travelling to Dubai," said Vernon "I kind of just want to see him now."
'I still don't believe it'
Steven Cook said he dropped Portuondo off at the airport on Thursday and was stunned to hear about the news just a few days later.
"It was so soon after I dropped him off that I just couldn't believe it. I still don't believe it," Cook said.
Crystal Portuondo said her brother's smile revealed the happiness he shared with others.
"He would give you anything and he would do anything for me," she said.
'Shock and sadness'
There are also people remembering Cody Nixon, who friends described as joy to be around.
"A lot of shock and sadness," said Brock Arthur, an owner and coach at the Durham Boxing Academy where Nixon trained. "Skilled boxer, very technical, good footwork, fast hands. He was a fun fighter to watch."
Nixon once represented Ontario at the Canadian Boxing Championships in 2012 and recently returned to the ring.
"It's a sad event, irregardless of how talented he was," Arthur said. "No one wants to wake up and get that kind of news."
Was speed a factor?
On his Instagram account, Nixon posed with a Ferrari in Dubai with a caption that said: "Don't worry I won't speed."
But police say speed is one of the factors they'll be looking into as they investigate the crash. At this point, the Portuondo family acknowledged they don't know who was driving the vehicle.
The identity of the third victim has not yet been released.
The federal government said previously that they were working with Canadian consular officials in the United Arab Emirates to aid the affected families.