First-year University of Victoria student Roja Omidbakhsh has been identified as one of 176 victims of the Tehran air crash. (LinkedIn)

Informal memorial scheduled at University of Victoria for Iranian plane crash victims

The Graduate Student Society is hosting the event this evening; one UVic student was on board

The University of Victoria’s Grad Student Society (GSS) is hosting an informal memorial this evening to commemorate the lives of the 176 passengers lost when a Ukrainian plane went down in a fatal crash in Iran on Wednesday.

According to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko, the plane was carrying 63 Canadians, 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainian passengers, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons. The plane was heading to Kyiv, with 138 of the passengers scheduled to transfer from Kyiv to Toronto.

At least 11 people on board were from B.C. including Roja Omidbakhsh, who was a first-year commerce student at UVic.

“Roja was very positive and had a keen interest in marketing. She was on the pathway to complete a bachelor of commerce,” said Mark Colgate, Omidbakhsh’s professor of commerce in a statement. “We’re heartbroken that this happened and our condolences go to her family and classmates.”

READ MORE: First-year UVic student among the 176 victims of Iran plane crash

GSS Chair Mehdi Hashemi is of Iranian descent and released a statement on the GSS Facebook page.

“These Canadian victims largely belonged to the academic community in British Columbia and across Canada. For that reason, we (the Executive Board of the UVic Graduate Students’ Society) feel compelled to share our deepest condolences, and express solidarity, with the individuals, families and communities, especially the Iranian-Canadian community and the academic communities, impacted by this sad event,” Hashemi wrote.

The GSS is hosting an informal memorial Thursday night from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Side Project Cafe in the Halpern Grad Centre on the University of Victoria campus at 3800 Finnerty Rd.

Members of the Victoria Iranian-Persian Cultural Society are also attending the event, posting a message on their Facebook page.

“The tragic news of the plane crash in Iran has shocked us all. So many people including dozens of Iranian-Canadians lost their lives. It is now confirmed that amongst the victims, there was an undergraduate UVic student as well,” the post reads. “We, too, are deeply sad to hear this tragic news, and share our deepest of condolences, and express our solidarity with those directly or indirectly impacted.”

ALSO READ: At least 11 people from B.C. among victims in fatal Iran plane crash

All members of the community are welcome to attend.

“This surely is a distressing moment for all of us, and we want to reach out to everyone affected,” Hashemi wrote. “All members of the Iranian-Canadian community, as well as friends and allies on or off the campus are welcome. This will be an informal gathering, please feel free to come and go as your time permits.”

With files from Kendra Crighton, The Canadian Press

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Fatal Plane CrashIranUVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tour de Victoria postpones 10th annual ride to 2021

Ride that draws more than 3,000 cyclists to Greater Victoria was set for August

Rural Saanich residents urged to take preventative steps ahead of wildfire season

Saanich Fire Department expects another hot, dry wildfire season

West Shore RCMP, ICBC target speeders and aggressive drivers

Hotspots include Sooke Road, Veterans Memorial Parkway and Colwood Corners

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

Most Read