A 24-year-old Ontario medical student was among the 298 people killed when a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed over Ukraine, his family said Friday.
Andrei Anghel was studying in Romania but was travelling to Bali on that flight for a vacation, his father Sorin Anghel said. He was with his girlfriend, who he had met in Romania, the father said.
“We got the information that the flight was shot down and we knew that he took that flight so we just assumed. Later we got the confirmation, from actually Durham police came here and they gave us the official,” Anghel said, trailing off.
The airline has said at least one Canadian was on board the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight that was brought down Thursday.
U.S. intelligence officials have said a surface-to-air missile downed the plane in an area in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. U.S. President Barack Obama called for a credible investigation.
“The eyes of the world are on eastern Ukraine, and we are going to make sure that the truth is out,” Obama said at the White House.
Anghel said his son was a very kind, outgoing man who liked meeting other people.
“Everybody who knew him know that he was a very, very kind, very, very, very good person,” Anghel said with a heavy sigh. “He’s going to be missed.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement expressing shock and sadness about the tragedy and said Canada is willing to assist authorities in determining the cause of the crash.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted her condolences Friday.
“So sad to hear Andrei Anghel from Ajax was on the Malaysian flight,” the premier wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts are with his family during this tragic time of sorrow.”
Before going to Romania to continue his studies, Anghel graduated with a bachelor of science from the University of Waterloo.
Anghel completed secondary studies at Ajax High School and previously worked as a laboratory assistant at the Canadian Phycological Culture Centre, which provides research quality cultures to educational institutions, government and commercial laboratories worldwide, according to his LinkedIn page.
“I am passionately interested in the science of living things, always questioning. Why do cells strive for life? What defines life?” Anghel wrote on the website.
“I believe there is much we can learn from the simplest forms of life. I plan to learn and bring new knowledge to the world.”
Anghel also volunteered at a retirement home in Waterloo, Ont., according to a resume he posted to his personal website.
At least 189 of the victims were from the Netherlands. Passengers on the plane also included 29 Malaysians, 28 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one person each from Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong, according to the airlines and those governments. Two passengers’ nationalities remained to be confirmed.
The victims include a large contingent of scientists heading to an AIDS conference in Australia.
The Ukrainian government in Kyiv, the separatist pro-Russia rebels they are fighting and the Russian government that Ukraine accuses of supporting the rebels all denied shooting the plane down. Moscow also denies backing the rebels.