Friends mourn Windsor couple among victims in Iran plane crash

People in Windsor are heartbroken Wednesday learning at least five students or research faculty from the university died in the Ukrainian plane crash.

Some people even had plans to pick up their friends from the airport on Wednesday. As you can imagine, they are simply lost for words. 

A video is one of the last times best friends would hear from Samira Bashiri and her husband Hamidreza Seterah. Now for John and Leah Smithies, it is a cherished memory. 
"My heart is broken," Leah said. "They have been with us here. (It is) unbelievable."

Bashiri and Seterah were among the 176 killed when a Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed after takeoff in Iran on Tuesday. Their sudden death left Rachel Smith with a hole in her heart, that only friends can fill. 

"They were the kind of friends who were just always there for you and they just loved you unconditionally, and it was a no judgement zone," said Smith.

Originally from Iran, the couple just wrapped up a month-long visit with their families. They were coming back to Canada where Seterah was getting his PHD in mechanical engineering from the University of Windsor. Bashiri was a veterinarian, and worked at a lab on campus. 

The only thing that outshined the couple's brilliance was their kindness. 


Samira Bashiri and her husband Hamidreza Seterah were among the plane crash victims

"I was very nervous with them going back with the way things can be," John said. "And they both said, we can't turn our back on our parents. 

Now as these friends mourn the loss of their second family, they plan to honor Bashiri and Seterah with a life full of love.

"They would like you to know that they need some other people out there to show love to other people, even though they're not from your nationality or your tribe or your country," said Leah. 

"We will always remember them and always try to do what they would want us to do," Smith said.

People from seven countries were on board that plane, including 83 Iranians and at least 63 Canadians. 

A statement from the University of Windsor says they " ... are heartbroken and are offering condolences to everyone impacted by this tragedy."