A police officer stands guard as debris is seen from an Ukrainian plane which crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Red Deer man, originally from Iran, saddened by jetliner crash that killed 176

A Red Deer man, who is originally from Iran, says he was saddened to hear about a plane crash in his former homeland that killed 176 people Wednesday.

Amir Boroumand, 75, says his “heart almost stopped” when he learned of the crash of a Boeing 737, operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, which was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians.

“I am so sad and disappointed about that crash,” said Boroumand, who fled Iran for a better life in 1986 and came to Red Deer two years later with his wife and four children.

“My grandson goes to (an) Edmonton university, in his second year of engineering. A couple of people from Iran, who have a scholarship and are living in the dorm of university, had family in that crash who died.”

The jetliner went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff, just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. forces.

Iranian officials have blamed mechanical trouble for the crash, and are disputing any suggestion the plane was brought down by a missile.

Many of the passengers were believed to be international students attending universities in Canada. They were making their way back to Toronto by way of Kiev, Ukraine, after visiting with family during the winter break.

“Canada is my home now. I was so sad when I saw there were 63 Canadians on board who died,” said Boroumand.

–With files from The Canadian Press


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