A doctoral student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) and his wife were among the 176 passengers of the Ukranian airlines plane that was shot down on Wednesday.
The elite Swiss academic institution confirmed that the Iranian researcher, who worked at the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, and his wife were killed in the tragic incident. The couple lived near Zurich and were visiting family in Iran. The rector of the university Sarah Springman expressed her condolences on behalf of the institution.
Iran reportedly shot down the Ukrainian passenger aircraft by mistake. The Iranian army announced on Saturday that the plane had been mistaken for an "enemy aircraft" and claimed the catastrophe was caused due to "human error".
Earlier, Iran had vehemently denied that the plane had been shot down. The Boeing 737 of the Ukrainian airline UIA had crashed near Tehran on Wednesday morning, killing all 176 passengers. Most of those who died were Iranians or Canadians of Iranian descent who were planning to travel on to Canada via Ukraine.
Shortly before the plane crashed, Iran had launched several missile attacks on two military bases in Iraq used by the US forces. Two days after the crash of the passenger plane, the dispute over the cause of the accident continues to fuel tensions in the region. Western countries are assuming that the Iranian air defense had accidentally launched missiles. Confirmation of the veracity of Iran’s claims is expected to be assessed by analysis of the flight recorders.