RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — A North Carolina State University graduate died in the Ukrainian jetliner shootdown and crash in Iran earlier this week, university officials said Saturday.
Bahareh Karami was among the 176 who died when a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines went down Wednesday after being hit by a missile on the outskirts of Tehran shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport.
Karami, of Canada, obtained an M.S. in environmental engineering from the College’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering in 2012, according to N.C. State officials.
“The College of Engineering at N.C. State is mourning the loss of Bahareh Karami,” a news release from the university said Saturday.
Karami earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Tehran, N.C. State officials said.
“(She) was described by her home department as an energetic and optimistic person who enjoyed her work in environmental engineering after graduation,” the statement from N.C. State said.
When she died, Karami was working as a design technologist with the Regional Municipality of York in Ontario, Canada.
“We are so shocked and extremely saddened by this tragedy,” York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson said in a statement. “Our prayers are with Bahareh’s family, friends and colleagues, and for everyone that may be impacted in any way by this horrific event.”
Flags at York Region facilities have been lowered to half-mast until her funeral in Tehran is held.
The plane was shot down early Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad. No one was wounded in the attack on the bases.
A military statement carried by state media said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard. The military was at its “highest level of readiness,” it said, amid the heightened tensions with the United States.
“In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the statement said. It apologized for the disaster and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future.
It also said those responsible for the strike on the plane would be prosecuted.