SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego student has been named among those killed when an international flight bound for Ukraine crashed in Iran.
Sara Saadat was a student at Alliant International University in Scripps Ranch. She was a passenger on Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, according to the school.
In a statement to 10News, Saadat was visiting family in Iran and was heading back to San Diego to begin the spring 2020 semester. She was enrolled in the university's clinical psychology program.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to family and friends of Alliant Student Sara Saadat. Sara was a passenger on Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 that crashed in Iran. It appears that Sara was visiting family in Iran and was on her way back to San Diego to begin our spring 2020 term in our PsyD in Clinical Psychology program," the school's statement read. "We know that the entire Alliant community is affected when tragedy strikes any one of us, and we are here to provide support during these trying times."
Saadat's sister, Saba, and mother were also among the 176 passengers on board that were killed.
"The Alliant community is still processing the news and many of us are still in shock but overall it's grief and sympathy for the family and friends of [Saadat]," said Amber Eckert, vice president of student affairs. "[Saadat] was a student in our doctorate program in clinical psychology. It's a cohort based program that means [Saadat] will stay with the same group of students ... Very tight knit group of students, they develop life long friendships."
The campus is providing on-site support from counselors from the school's student assistance program.
Reyaan Shuaib, a close friend of Saadat's, told 10News she was "the sweetest person I'd ever known."
"She had an amazing way to speak to people, to listen to people," said Shuaib, noting her natural talent for wanting to be a psychologist.
"She was the first person who got me to really open up. I’ve never been so close to someone that I was with her," Shuaib revealed.
She said the University of Alberta, where Saadat had graduated from, is also offering counseling for those who are grieving.
The flight bound for Ukraine crashed minutes after taking off from Tehran, Iran, this week. CNN reported among those killed on the flight were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals.
The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. military. The attack was in response to a US rocket attack that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last week.
While Iran has denied responsibility for the crash, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said intelligence agencies have concluded an Iranian missile caused the plane crash.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional,” Trudeau told the media.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday the U.S. believes Iran shot down the plane, adding that the U.S. will take "appropriate action" in response to the crash.
President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he has "suspicions" about the crash as well.
"I have my suspicions," Trump told reporters. "It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood and somebody could have made a mistake."