US & Canada

Canada offers funds to families of Canadian victims of Flight 752

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Image copyright AFP via Getty Images
Image caption Canada has offered compensation to help with the immediate costs for families of some victims of Flight PS752

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada will compensate families of the victims of the Ukraine Airlines crash.

The funds are designed to assist families of victims who are Canadians citizens or permanent residents in covering related costs such as travel.

Mr Trudeau said families would receive C$25,000 ($19,200; £14,600) per victim.

Fifty-seven Canadian nationals were on the plane when it was hit by an Iranian air defence missile earlier this month.

"This is a unique and unprecedented situation because of the international sanctions place in Iran and the difficulties that that imposes on these families," Mr Trudeau said on Friday.

"This is the first step. These families have lost a loved one in extraordinary circumstances and this grieving is even more difficult as a result," he said.

Families are facing immediate financial pressures as they sort out the necessary funeral arrangements and travel in the wake of the tragedy, said Mr Trudeau. "These families need help now," he said.

The prime minister said Canada still expected Iran to financially compensate the victims' families for their loss.

The Ukraine International Airlines flight crashed shortly after taking off from the Iranian capital Tehran on 8 January, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board. Iran initially denied it was involved, but later admitted the plane was brought down by a missile fired in error.

Mr Trudeau said Iran has been asked to send the "black box" flight and cockpit data recorders from a crashed jet to France, saying it was one of the few countries with the ability to quickly analyse the badly damaged devices.

He also said 20 families of Canadian victims had requested the repatriation of remains and that the first of those remains are expected to be returned to Canada in the coming days.

Also on Friday, Canada's Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Oman to press Mr Zarif on full access for officials from Canada and other affected nation to assist in the investigation into the passenger plane crash.

On Thursday, ministers from five nations which lost citizens on the flight demanded full co-operation from Iran in a transparent international inquiry into the crash. The foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Britain, Canada, Sweden and Ukraine also said Iran must pay compensation.

They agreed on five key demands to Iran, including a "thorough, independent and transparent international investigation" and compensation to the victims' families.

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