'I cannot even imagine how hard it is for her family:' Friend of Iran plane crash victim
BEDFORD, N.S. -- Five people with connections to Nova Scotia were among the 176 people killed in a devastating plane crash in Iran and were remembered at a vigil Thursday night at Al Rasoul Islamic Society in Bedford, N.S.
It's been a difficult few days for Mahsa Majidi after learning one of her friends was killed in the plane crash Wednesday morning.
"We met on a plane in September when she was moving here, and it was her first time coming to Canada," said Majidi. "We were on the same flight together."
Majidi says Masoumeh Ghavi always had a smile on her face, but was also homesick and excited for her younger sister, Mandieh, to move to Halifax and start at Dalhousie University.
"She was already thinking about the apartment they were going to live in," said Majidi. "She was telling me, 'I'm trying to work really hard while I'm studying to help her with her tuition fees,' because both of them were self-funded students."
Both women perished in the crash.
"I cannot even imagine how hard it is for her family," said Majidi. "They said goodbye in the airport and probably they were happy because they were starting a new journey here and it's all gone. It's over now."
Saint Mary's University says two of their students were listed on the passenger manifest.
Maryam Malek and Fatemeh Mahmoodi were both in the master of finance program at the school.
"They were so happy to be finished for Christmas and to be going home," said Colin Dodds, a professor at Saint Mary's University who taught both students and saw them before they left.
"They were extremely talented," Dodds said. "Both with masters degrees already from Iran, and business experience. They were enjoying the program, engaged with the program, engaged with their peers in the program. We have two other Iranian students in the program -- both female -- so there was a bond there of those four."
In light of the tragedy, the university is offering a number of supports for those affected.
"People have had different experiences and different experiences with death and with loss so it can stir up other memories for people of things that they dealt with in the past," said Tom Brophy of Saint Mary's University Student Services. "People handle shock in their own different ways as well."
Dalhousie also says they have resources available for students and staff.
Dr. Sharieh Faghihi, a Halifax dentist, was also aboard the jet.
It's still unclear how many other victims had connections to Nova Scotia.
"On behalf of all Nova Scotians, I want to pass on my condolences and sympathies to those who lost their lives in the Iranian plane crash," said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil. "And to their friends here in Nova Scotia -- and really across the country -- we all mourn with you."
At least three memorials are already planned to honour the lives that were lost, including one Thursday evening in Bedford.
"Some of them, their whole family is gone, and that's very sad," said memorial organizer Hossein Mousavi. "It is a very sad situation right now for everybody. Not just for the Iranian community, for all the community. All the community sends a message to us right now and they feel sad about what happened."
A second memorial has been planned for Friday at Saint Mary's University and another one Saturday at the Dalhousie University Faculty Club.
That memorial is also open to the public, and all three are an opportunity for the community to gather and remember the victims.