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138 passengers on flight that crashed in Iran were headed for Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says most of the passengers on the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed in Iran this morning, killing everyone aboard, were destined for Canada.

"At least 63 Canadians were on board and a total of 138 passengers on that flight were connecting to Canada — all people who won't be coming home to their parents, their friends, colleagues or their family," Trudeau told a press briefing in Ottawa this afternoon, hours after 176 people on Flight PS752 from Tehran to Kyiv — including Canadian families, academics and students — were killed.

"While no words will erase your pain, I want you to know that an entire country is with you. We share your grief."

Trudeau repeated his promise to make certain the crash — one of the deadliest disasters involving Canadian citizens in decades — is thoroughly investigated. He said Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne will soon speak with his Iranian counterpart to drive home that point.

"Canadians have questions and they deserve answers," he said, flanked by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance.

Neither Trudeau nor Garneau would speculate on the cause of the incident.

Garneau, a former astronaut, says satellite data suggest the Boeing 737-800 aircraft took off normally, but officials lost contact with the flight almost immediately after. Canada's Transportation Safety Board said Iranian officials will lead the investigation and it will appoint a Canadian expert to receive and review information from the probe.

Ukraine International Airlines, which has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely, issued a statement saying the aircraft was built in 2016 and underwent its last scheduled maintenance Monday.

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