THE Primate of Canada, the Most Revd Linda Nicholls, has expressed her dismay at the plane crash in Iran which killed 176 people, including 63 Canadians, on Wednesday.
Speaking on Friday, Archbishop Nicholls said: “This tragedy takes on even more poignancy when those who have died lived in our communities and were our friends and neighbours.”
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed shorty after take off from Tehran on Wednesday morning. All those aboard were killed, including four Britons. After Iran, with 83 passengers, Canada suffered the highest number of casualties.
Archbishop Nicholls said: “Once again we are dismayed by the enormity of destruction caused when an airplane crashes and takes the lives of dozens of people in a moment. . .
“We have all been touched by the stories and photographs of Canadians and students studying in Canada who were on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, that crashed outside of Tehran. Children, families, students and professors were among the victims, and our hearts grieve their loss.
“The darkness of grief invites us to look to Epiphany, the revelation of the light of Christ in our midst, for the possibility of hope. That hope is seen when we come together to remember, to grieve and to pray. . .
“It is seen when we offer and remember the victims and their families in our prayers, not only now but in the weeks to come as their loss is fully realized. We especially pray for the Iranian community across Canada, from among whom came many of those who died.”
On Thursday, Western security officials were reporting that the plane had been shot down accidentally by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile. The crash happened shortly after Iranian missiles had been fired at US bases in Iraq. Iran has so far denied the charge.
The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said that his government would not rest until it got justice. “We have intelligence, including from our allies and own intelligence, that the plane was shot down by Iranian surface-to-air missiles,” he said.