Vigil at Alberta Legislature mourns tragedy of Flight PS752
'We're here to make sure that they're remembered forever,' said Iranian-Canadian Payman Parseyan
About 50 people gathered at the Alberta Legislature Wednesday evening for a vigil mourning the victims of Flight PS752.
All 176 people on board the Kyiv-bound Boeing 737 were killed when the passenger plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Tehran's main airport Wednesday.
Officials say 63 victims were residing in Canada with almost half of those coming from Edmonton.
Iranian-Canadian Payman Parseyan described to the crowd the devastation as the local community came to realize the full extent of friends and colleagues lost in the crash.
"Twenty-seven of our community members that we will never see again," he said. "We're here to make sure that they're remembered forever."
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Those in attendance shared tears and supportive hugs as candles were laid on the legislature steps alongside photos of those remembered — professors, students, and a newly married couple among the dead.
"We were all from the University of Alberta and they were all our friends," Honey Shahin said with tears in her eyes. "They were all geniuses who came here to learn, they came here to add to the world.
"And now they are not here."
Members of the Legislative Assembly were also present at the vigil to pay tribute.
"I want to say to the Iranian community that you are not alone," municipal affairs Minister Kaycee Madu told the crowd.
NDP David Shepherd echoed those comments shortly afterwards, saying that members of the legislature "are here for you."
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The disaster was the largest recent loss of life among Canadians since an Air India flight blew up in 1985 over the Atlantic Ocean, killing 268 Canadians.
The plane crash marks the single largest loss of life of Edmontonians. A tornado that tore through parts of the city in 1987 killed 27 people.