Ukrainian plane shooting hits home for Island resident Shirin Grover

Shirin Grover, an Iranian Canadian, sits on the porch of her Meldrum Bay Inn business.

MELDRUM BAY – The shooting down of a Ukrainian commercial airline outbound from Tehran by the Iranian military on Wednesday, January 8 cost the lives of 176 people, including 63 Canadians, hit home hard for Iranian Canadian Shirin Grover of Meldrum Bay.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she told The Expositor on Friday. “Canada has lost a tremendous amount of talented people and the families of the people on that plane are going through terrible personal losses.”

Ms. Grover does not have a direct connection to any of the people on the doomed aircraft, but notes that “it doesn’t really matter, if I knew them or not, it doesn’t matter where or who they were, it is heartbreaking. The lives of a group of people with bright futures have been cut short. It is a terrible human loss.”

The resort operator said that her email account was filled with notes coming from people across the globe expressing concern about the tremendous human loss entailed in the tragedy.

After several days of denial, the Iranian government finally admitted responsibility for the attack, citing human error and heightened tensions as factors. The incident took place shortly following an Iranian missile attack on a US base that also housed Canadian military advisors training members of the Iraqi military—itself a reaction to the US assassination by drone of a top Iranian general in Iraq.

“A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated in a social media tweet. “Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims and to other affected nations.”

Saying he was furious and outraged, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed that Canada demands answers and justice. While addressing reporters on Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Trudeau said while Iran’s admission that its military was responsible for shooting the Boeing 737-800 was “an important step,” the country must now allow for a full investigation to take place.

“I am of course outraged and furious that families across this country are grieving their loved ones,” he said, adding that “the Iranian-Canadian community is suffering so greatly, that all Canadians are shocked and appalled by this senseless loss of life.”

The prime minister has also called for the Iranian government to make restitution to the families of the victims.