LONDON, ONT. -- Western University has confirmed that four students were on the Ukrainian Airlines flight that crashed in Iran, killing everyone on board.

"We grieve their loss and the other passengers aboard this flight,” said Western University President Alan Shepard in a written statement about the deaths of four students killed in the Ukrainian International Airlines plane crash in Tehran, Iran.

Three were current graduate students and one was an incoming graduate student. They have been identified as:

  • Ghazal Nourian, a PhD student in the Nanophotonic Energy Materials group
  • Milad Nahavandi, a PhD student at the Industrial Bioproduct Lab
  • Hadis Hayatdavoudi, a PhD student at the Electrochemistry and Corrosion Science Centre
  • Sajedeh Saraeian, an incoming Masters of Science student in Chemical Engineering

According to her social media pages, Nourian was working as a research assistant at Western while studying Mechanical Engineering.

Tara Amiri was Nourian's best friend, and says she spoke to her just hours before she boarded the flight to return from visiting family.

"While she was packing her stuff she called me and we talked a little bit. And last night when I heard about a plane, I didn't know what one she was in. Then I was like, oh my God."

Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 crashed shortly after take-off in Iran on Wednesday morning, killing all 176 people on board, including 63 Canadians.

Those on board were primarily Iranians and Canadians en route to Kyiv, Ukraine. It is believed some were connecting to a flight back to Canada after spending the winter break in Iran.

It's not a flight Amiri says she would have chosen, "As far as I know, this is not a good flight, so I don't risk taking that flight for my trips."

The statement from Shepard goes on to say, “This is a difficult time, we are deeply saddened and it’s important for all of us to come together as a caring community.”

A number of supports and counselling services are being made available to students and faculty.

Across Ontario, students attending schools in Toronto, York Region and several universities are among those killed.

In addition to the four Western University students, the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo each say they lost two PhD students while the University of Windsor said five students/researchers were lost.

The Toronto District School Board says a number of its students and their relatives were aboard the plane as well as a relative of one of its employees. The board in York Region says it's also aware of several students killed.

Other victims include a dentist at an office in Aurora as well as her daughter and a Toronto woman who worked for the union representing Ontario's high school teachers.

- With files from The Canadian Press