Edmonton hosts memorial service for plane crash victims

Photo Courtesy of timescolonist.com

Over 2000 people gathered at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton, to honor the victims of a plane crash in Iran.

Wednesday morning, a Ukrainian Jetliner crashed moments after departing the main airport in Tehran. The incident killed all 176 passengers on board.

Among the dead were 57 Canadians, at least 13 of which had a connection with Edmonton.

The plane crash occurred hours after Iran launched multiple ballistic missiles on two Iraqui bases that were housing U.S. Soldiers. This was widely believed to be retaliation to the assassination of top Iranian Military General Qassam Soleimoni.

After citing intelligence, it was reported both U.S and Canadian officials believed Iran shot down the aircraft. And after several days of denying any accusations involving the crash, the Iranian Government admitted on Sunday, January 12th their military had in fact "unintentionally" shot down the plane, blaming the incident on "human error".

Iran said in a statement the country's military had to stay on high alert due to the "unprecedented threats" made by the U.S and shot the plane down after mistaking it for a cruise missile. Iran apologized to those who lost their loved ones and pledged to bring justice to those responsible. 

Now, in memorial to those that lost their lives in the crash, the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton held a ceremony on January 12th.

Officials report nearly 2500 people attended the memorial service and some were even lined up in the hallways. 

The service saw a number of delegates speak and also saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Jason Kenny make an appearance.

Trudeau said it was "gut-wrenching to sit with the families while they talked about their loved ones, learning who they were, what they loved to do, what their plans were for the future".

A book of condolence has been set up at Edmonton City Hall for people to share messages with friends and families of the victims and will be available from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm until January 15th. 


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