Among the 176 people killed when Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 crashed after taking off from Tehran, 63 of them were Canadians, and among that smaller group was a couple who'd just gotten married days before, CNN reports. "They were basically the kindest souls that I know, honestly," a friend tells CTV News of Arash Pourzarabi, 26, and his new bride, 25-year-old Pouneh Gorji. "They were really happy," another friend and classmate told Mclean's of the couple's wedding on New Year's Day. The two had flown to Iran from Canada to tie the knot, Reza Akbari, head of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton, tells the CBC.
Pourzarabi and Gorji were graduate students in computer science at the University of Alberta, to which at least 10 of the victims had ties. "This is a devastating loss for the [university]," President David H. Turpin says in a statement. The CBC notes that 31 of the passengers on the flight were from Alberta in total. The crash is also responsible for the single most loss of life of residents of Edmonton, Alberta's capital; 27 Edmontonians died in 1987 when a tornado swept through the city. "We lost a significant portion of our community," an Edmonton resident told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "Everybody in Edmonton that's of Iranian descent will know somebody that was on that flight." (This man got booted from Flight 752 due to a mix-up; his wife was on it.)