Montreal families greet flight out of Istanbul with relief, and tears

Montreal families gathered to welcome home family members on a Turkish Airlines flight out of Istanbul's Ataturk airport, which was attacked by suicide bombers shortly after Flight TK35's departure.

At one point, Zohreh Salajeghe thought her two daughters had missed the flight out of Istanbul

Zohreh Salajeghe greets her two daughters after their arrival in Montreal from Istanbul. (CBC)

Zohreh Salajeghe had tearful hugs and kisses for her two daughters after they arrived in Montreal on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul's Ataturk airport Tuesday night. 

At one point, Salajeghe said she thought the girls had missed their flight, which departed shortly before suicide bombers attacked the airport Tuesday, killing 36 people and wounding more than 140 others.

"I'm so happy to see them," she said through tears.

Her 15-year-old daughter, Yasmin Kanagarani, only found out about the attack after landing in Montreal.

"Oh my God," she said. "I don't know what to say. I feel very lucky. God must like me a lot."


Ambulance cars arrive at Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey, following a blast June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RTX2IQUY (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Emmett Marchand, another passenger arriving from Istanbul, said it was "chilling" to think they had just avoided the attack.

Fellow passenger Iryna Sushko said her first priority was to call her parents and let them know she was safe. 

"It's very scary. They don't know that we've arrived here. It's terrifying," she said.

Hossein Zamani was at Montreal's Trudeau Airport to meet his wife, who was coming home from Iran via Istanbul. 

The attack left him shaken.

"I'm left speechless, I can't put it into words how worrisome it could be," he said.

Community leader condemns attack

Istanbul airport bombing

The National

5 years ago
Three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up in the main international airport in Istanbul, killing at least 31 people and wounding 147. 2:27

Yilmaz Ekinci, president of the Montreal Turkish Centre, condemned the attack, pointing out that it occurred during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"So many people died for nothing," he said.

"We are not happy, but this terrorism one day is going to finish."

Ekinci said Montreal's 20,000 residents of Turkish descent will be following developments from Istanbul closely, as they always do.

"We always come together," he said.

"Everyone listens to the news."

Turkey has suffered a spate of bombings this year, including two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul blamed on ISIS, and two car bombings in the capital, Ankara, which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group.

With files from Arian Zarrinkoub