Manitoba universities observe moment of silence for Flight PS752 victims
8 Winnipeggers among those who died when plane crashed in Iran
A standing-room-only crowd gathered at Winnipeg's University of Manitoba on Wednesday for a moment of silence to honour the victims of Flight PS752.
"It was wonderful. It shows that Canadian people are beside each other and we are united and we care about our diverse communities," said Alireza Kasirloo, an engineering student at the U of M and a member of the Iranian Students Association.
About 50 people stood, heads down, eyes closed and hands together, in the quiet room on the University Centre's fifth floor. The silence lasted about three minutes, rather than the one that had been planned.
The university organized the local event in solidarity with other universities across the country to remember the victims of Ukraine Airlines Flight PS752, which crashed in Iran a week ago.
Universities Canada, formerly the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, arranged the countrywide moment of silence that took place at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT).
"We will observe a minute of silence to mourn the loss of our neighbours, classmates, friends and colleagues," U of M vice-chancellor David Barnard said in a news release before the event.
Moment of silence for Flight PS752 victims:
The plane — which Iran has said was unintentionally shot down by its military — crashed just minutes after taking off from Tehran's main airport.
All 176 passengers and crew were killed. Of those passengers, 138 were destined for Canada and 57 were Canadian citizens.
Eight victims lived in Winnipeg and many people at Wednesday's event knew at least some of them, but just as many strangers attended to show support.
Kasirloo, who did not personally know anyone on the plane, said he has been moved by stories others have shared on a group chat for engineering students.
"I was very emotional to see all those stories," he said.
The trauma people have felt was exacerbated when the Iranian government announced the plane was taken down by at least one missile, he said.
"It's something that is unbelievable."
There have been multiple gatherings in the days since the crash, for students to comfort one another and try to make sense of it all. While that has helped, "it's not enough," Kasirloo said.
"We want to get the answers. We want to know what did exactly happen."
The flag over the Tier Building on the U of M's Fort Garry campus will remain at half-mast until the end of the day, Barnard said.
If you are at either the Fort Garry or Bannatyne campuses at noon today, please participate in a moment of silence to honour those lost in the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 tragedy. <a href="https://t.co/xrgldFwCj6">https://t.co/xrgldFwCj6</a>—@umanitoba