A Surrey teacher, Niloo Razzaghi-Khamsin, and her family were among the 176 people killed in Tuesday’s plane crash in Iran, Surrey’s school district announced Thursday.
“We are heartbroken to learn that one of our teachers and her family were among those who lost their lives in the UIA plane crash in Iran,” the district tweeted Thursday morning.
“We offer our sincere condolences to all who knew Niloo Razzaghi-Khamsin and have made support services available to students and staff.”
Razzaghi-Khamsin, Matthew said, was registered at the district as Niloo, but her full name was Niloofar.
Surrey Schools spokesperson Ritinder Matthew said Razzaghi-Khamsin was a teacher-on-call at multiple elementary schools throughout the district.
“We’ve reached out to all of the schools where was a TOC… to offer counseling for any staff or students. The principals are aware of this and on top of it,” Matthew told the Now-Leader.
Razzaghi-Khamsin, along with her husband Ardalan Evnoddin-Hamidi and her teenage son Hamyar Ebnoddin Hamidi, all died in the plane crash. The family lived in Port Coquitlam, Matthew said.
The Civic Association of Iranian Canadians in Vancouver has confirmed Wednesday (Jan. 8) that Evnoddin-Hamidi, Razzaghi-Khamsin and their son, Hamyar, were aboard the plane when it crashed, coming home from a two-week holiday in the country.
“He was one of the best and most worthy people, citizens and friends that I’ve known for years,” the association’s president Kei Esmaeilpour said in a statement. “They were a respected, active … and proud family for the Iranian society.”
Ebnoddin-Hamidi was a building engineer in Metro Vancouver. Razzaghi was working to become a school teacher.
Meanwhile, two U.S. officials said Thursday it was “highly likely” that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed the Ukrainian jetliner late Tuesday.
But an Iranian report suggests that a sudden emergency struck the Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines just minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport.
The plane was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. 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 Kyiv after visiting with family during the winter break.
– With files from Associated Press, Ashley Wadhwani and Katya Slepian