Among the victims of the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 in Tehran, Iran, are 11 Ukrainians – 9 crew members and two passengers. Citizens from six more countries were also killed in the incident: 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 10 Swedes, 4 Afghans, and as well as 3 Germans and 3 U.K. citizens.
26 children perished, with the youngest being only 1.5 years old.
The passenger list contained a great deal of families and students, who were heading back to university following the end of the winter holidays.
Hromadske shares stories of some of the people who lost their lives in this catastrophe, and honors their memory.
Ukrainian Crew Members
Three pilots and six flight attendants – all Ukrainian citizens – were killed in the aviation accident in Iran. According to Ukrainian International Airlines, the flight was staffed with an experienced crew with many logged flight hours.
Oleksiy Naumkin was a flight instructor and had 12 thousand logged flight hours, including on the Boeing-737. The BBC Russian service quoted one of his old schoolmates, Serhiy Chernoho: “One of the best pilots on the course. He was a very responsible person. From a dynasty of pilots.”
Oleksiy Naumkin, a flight instructor who perished in the UIA aviation catastrophe. Photo: Oleksiy Naumkin / Facebook
Serhii Homenko was an experienced pilot. “Previously, he was the commander of the 'Blue Path', a subdivision of military air transport of Ukraine. As a civilian pilot, he mastered the Boeing-767 and the Boeing-737. He was a master of his craft,” wrote Iurii, another UIA pilot on Facebook, under the nickname Iurii Truepilot. Hromadske learned from its own sources that Homenko is survived by two children.
Pilot Volodymyr Haponenko enrolled in the Flight Academy at the National Aviation University in 1987. He graduated in 1992, with the speciality of air transport operation in air navigation. He first worked as an engineer-navigator at Boryspil Airport, working on a TY-34 plane.
According to UIA, Haponenko had 11,600 logged flight hours on the Boeing-737, including over 5,500 hours as an aircraft commander. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
“I love you guys,” wrote flight attendant Valeriia Ovcharuk two weeks ago on her Instagram account. The flight attendant was originally from Luhansk, and her profile contained quotes from the song “I believe I can fly”.
The last photo posted on Instagram by flight attendant Maria Mykytyuk, was taken in Dubai on December 14. She was 24 years old. Four days ago, she posted another photo showing a Christmas tree with the caption “Who wants to hear a story?”
“Denis, eternal memory :( It’s unbelievable,” wrote one Instagram user as a comment on the last post of flight attendant Denis Lykhno. His profiles contains many pictures of him and his sweetheart, as well as of his travels.
Flight attendant Ihor Matkov in 2015 enrolled in his second year at the Kirovohrad Flight Academy of the National Aviation University as a specialist in aviation transport. He planned to become a pilot. However, he dropped out after a year.
Valerii Matkov, Ihor’s father, told journalists at Boryspil Airport that he learned about the death of his son from his daughter, living in the U.S.
“She called me from the States at 6:15. She told me that the Americans had said that a UIA flight had crashed. She asked: Where did Ihor fly to? We replied – to Tehran, the morning flight should have returned. And then we saw on video the airplane crash.”
The airline failed to notify Ihor’s parents about their son’s death.
Valerii Matkov, father of Ihor Matkov, a crew member who died during the UIA plane crash in Tehran at the Boryspil Airport on January 8. Photo: EPA-EFE/ IGOR GOLOVNIOV
UIA employee Bohdan Ostrovsky wrote on his Facebook page that “Ihor was a very good person, he wouldn’t let a dog or kitten go [untreated]. I remember how once he visited me for coffee, but he had an injured pigeon in his car.”
The 27-years-old flight attendant Ekaterina Statnik lived and studied in Nova Kakhovka, a town in southern Ukraine. She graduated in 2009. Her Instagram account contains photos from different countries. She recently vacationed in Israel with her parents. Her last post was a picture of her on Kontraktova Square in Kyiv during New Year’s celebrations, with users and colleagues leaving sympathetic comments. She’s remembered as a bright, sincere, and ambitious person.
The majority of passengers were traveling from Tehran, with Kyiv as a transit point, in order to transfer to flights to other countries – mainly Canada. The plane was filled with families who had celebrated their winter holidays in Iran, as well as students visiting their parents. Journalists who visited the scene of the crash saw children’s toys, a toothbrush, and sheet music among the debris.
Personnel from the expert investigative team among airplane debris, January 8, 2020. EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH
There were also two non-crew Ukrainian citizens who never made it home to Ukraine – Olga Kobiuk, 61, who was visiting her daughter in Tehran, and Olena Malakhova, 37, director of an air cargo transport company who saw their cargo plane destroyed while carrying supplies for the Red Cross in Libya in 2019.
Kurdia Molani was the youngest passenger aboard the flight. She was only one and a half years old. She and her parents were returning to Toronto. A Facebook photo, dated 1 year ago, shows her and her mother Evin Arsalani. Her husband, Hiva Molani, worked as a business analyst in Canada.
A few families had perished in the crash. One family – father Pedram Mousavi, mother Mojgan Daneshmand, and their daughters Daria and Dorina were returning to Edmonton in Canada after New Year’s break. A friend of Pedram wrote on Facebook: “They were for me always symbols of love. They loved each other so strongly, and now they’re together eternally.”
The list of passengers also contains the Swedish family of Lindbergs – the parents Mikael and Rahele, and their children: 7-year-old Emil and 9-year-old Erik. On Rahele’s Facebook page is a photo of the family taken in 2019.
Three U.K. citizens also perished in the crash – according to U.K. outlet The Mirror, they were engineer Sam Zokaei, engineer Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi and his new wife Niloofar Ebrahim, and businessman Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh.
Khademasadi and his wife were returning to London via Kyiv after their wedding ceremony in their native Iran.
Social media users have also written about one more newly wed couple who were killed in the crash. According to this unverified information, these were a pair of Canadian citizens and university students Arash Pourzarabi and Pouneh Gourji, who married on January 3 and were returning to Canada.
2 Canadian passport holders, Arash Pourzarabi, a champion of the World Computing Olympiad and graduate of Alberta Univerity along with his wife Pouneh Gorji, another Alberta Uni. graduate had just married in #Iran this past Friday. Social media named as being on the UIA flight. pic.twitter.com/pAgQMPiHYb— Daniel Rád (@DanielKRad) January 8, 2020
Mehdi Eshaghian was another passenger, who had moved to Canada in 2018 to pursue a post-graduate degree. He was visiting his family in Tehran and was also returning to Canada. His friend, Ali Mazaheri, provided a comment to the CNN, saying that “We are all sad. I was crying from the morning. He was going to be 25 in a week. He was kind, humble, and caring.”
Before transferring to Canada, Mehdi studied at Sharif University in Tehran. According to the university’s administration, at least 14 former students of the university were killed on the flight. Iranian Twitter users shared photographs of an improvised memorial in the university in honor of the fallen alumni.
Some of those lost in the #Ukraineplanecrash were students at one of #Iran's top academic institutions, Sharif University. A classmate shares a heartbreaking photo of a table setup in their memory at the university. https://t.co/Rgoks1e4Sq— Reza H. Akbari (@rezahakbari) January 8, 2020
While the full passenger complement of the plane should have counted 169 people, two people did not board the flight. The Ukrainian government has confirmed that the two were not Ukrainian citizens.