National News

Ontario man was on Malaysia flight: family

By Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

A 24-year-old medical student from Ontario and his German girlfriend headed to Bali on vacation are among nearly 300 people who were killed when their Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine.

Andrei Anghel had been studying in Romania, where he met his girlfriend, for the past two years. Family photos show a smiling, happy young man, goofing around with his sister and father. Sorin Anghel said his son was a very kind, outgoing man who liked meeting other people.

"Everybody who knew him know that he was a very, very kind, very, very, very good person," Anghel said over the phone from his home in Ajax, Ont., east of Toronto.

"He's going to be missed," he said with a heavy sigh.

Anghel said the family feared the worst when they got the news that the flight had been shot down and knew Andrei was on that flight.

"Later we got the confirmation, from actually Durham police came here and they gave us the official," Anghel said, trailing off.

The airline has said at least one Canadian was on board the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight that was brought down Thursday.

U.S. intelligence officials have said a surface-to-air missile downed the plane in an area in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. U.S. President Barack Obama called for a credible investigation.

"The eyes of the world are on eastern Ukraine, and we are going to make sure that the truth is out," Obama said at the White House.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, the member of Parliament for Ajax-Pickering, visited the Anghel family home Friday morning to express his sympathies.

"Andrei represented the best that Ajax and Canada have to offer," Alexander said in a statement. "He had worked and studied hard to realize his dream of becoming a doctor, and was looking forward to a long-planned holiday in Bali. My wife and I are devastated by his family's loss. Our hearts go out to Andrei's parents, his sister, other family members and friends, as well as those of his girlfriend, a German citizen with whom he was travelling, whose grief we share."

The Canadian government is ready to assist Ukrainian authorities with the investigation, Alexander said.

"This is an egregious act of terror with an unacceptable human toll," he said. "Those responsible must be found and face the full force of the law."

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted her condolences Friday.

"So sad to hear Andrei Anghel from Ajax was on the Malaysian flight," the premier wrote on Twitter. "Our thoughts are with his family during this tragic time of sorrow."

Before going to Romania to continue his studies, Anghel graduated with a bachelor of science from the University of Waterloo.

Brian Dixon, who taught Anghel in an immunology class, said the student was very keen, asking questions in class and often following up with the professor after class in his office.

"He was a very personable person," Dixon said. "I think he would have been a great doctor. He had a really easygoing personality and was able to get along with people. He was always a pleasure to talk to when he was in my office."

Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo said in a statement that the university community is "shocked and saddened."

"I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family members and friends at this extremely difficult time," Hamdullahpur wrote.

Anghel completed secondary studies at Ajax High School and previously worked as a laboratory assistant at the Canadian Phycological Culture Centre, which provides research quality cultures to educational institutions, government and commercial laboratories worldwide, according to his LinkedIn page.

"I am passionately interested in the science of living things, always questioning. Why do cells strive for life? What defines life?" Anghel wrote on the website.

"I believe there is much we can learn from the simplest forms of life. I plan to learn and bring new knowledge to the world."

Anghel also volunteered at a retirement home in Waterloo, Ont., according to a resume he posted to his personal website.

At least 192 of the 298 victims were from the Netherlands. Passengers on the plane also included 29 Malaysians, 28 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 10 Britons, three Vietnamese, three Filipinos and one person each from the U.S., New Zealand and Hong Kong, according to the airline and those governments. The nationalities of some victims have not yet been identified.

The victims include a large contingent of scientists heading to an AIDS conference in Australia.

The Ukrainian government, the separatist pro-Russia rebels they are fighting and the Russian government that Ukraine accuses of supporting the rebels all denied shooting the plane down. Moscow also denies backing the rebels.

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