Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience of getting news of a friend perishing in a plane crash. It was a Friday morning in September 1994 when I received a call informing me that my old friend Ani Koherian-Ardhaljian and her daughter Narod were on a US Air crash in Pittsburg. It’s sudden. It’s shocking and it’s tragic.
Taline Davtian, the daughter of Caspian Air crash victim Dr. Levon Davtian, told Horizon news that her father told her, upon boarding the ill-fated flight, that he would call her upon arriving in Yerevan. “That call never came,” she said.
So was the case for hundreds of relatives and friends of the 40 Armenians on board the plane. From Tehran to Yereven to Los Angeles and elsewhere around the world, the July 15 crash sent shockwaves through communities. As the names of the victims trickled in, many identified their friends, relatives and loved ones.
After an official day of mourning in Armenia, over the weekend Armenian churches around the world prayed for the memory of the victims. From Etchmiadzin to Tehran to Glendale thousands gathered to remember the victims.
Locally, in Glendale, Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian presided over a special Requiem Mass last Monday, attended by more than 700 local relatives of the crash.
This tragedy has also promoted protests in Iran, where the Iranian-Armenian community staged a sit in at the Caspian Airlines offices demanding answers, not just from the corporate leaders of the airline, but from government officials.
Where was the transportation minister throughout this tragedy? Why didn’t the president declare a national day of mourning in Iran, which also lost 120 of its own, among them Iran’s junior Judo team? Who will provide these answers? Officials indicated this week that the investigation into the crash may last more than two months.
In the meantime, we mourn those who perished and we offer our sincere condolences to the victims’ relatives and friends.