Local woman remembers friend’s wife, daughter killed in Ukrainian plane crash

Dr. Parisa Eghbalian, (left) and daughter Reera Esmaeilion (center), were killed when the Ukrainian flight they were on crashed. (Provided photo)
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NEW ALBANY, Ohio — She was a dentist in Toronto and her 9-year old daughter shared the same love of reading and travel as her father.

Dr. Parisa Eghbalian, 42, and her daughter 9-year old Reera Esmaeilion, were on their way home from a family celebration in Tehran when disaster struck.

The two were aboard Ukranian flight 752 when it crashed to the ground by an apparent missile fired by Iran. The country announced Saturday that its military ‘unintentionally’ shot down the jetliner.

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Suddenly Dr. Hamed Esmaelioin became a widower.

Parvaneh Hoseini of New Albany is a close friend of the family.

"I just hope that the last moments on the plane, they didn't suffer," she says.

Three days after the crash, it remains hard for her talk about it.

She says like most immigrant families, this family fled Iran for a better life for them and their daughter.

"I cannot believe he cannot have any other dialogue with her anymore," she says.

She says she became friends with Esmaeilion as fellow bloggers writing about injustices to the people of Iran. Esmaeilion was also a non-fiction writer and she helped translate his books into English.

The crash, she says, has left all Iranian immigrants in shock and disbelief because they know it could have been them on that plane.

"Who can understand this? If someone asks me, 'How are you doing?' I don't know how to start, and how to make it meaningful," she says.

She showed 10TV Esmaeilion's Facebook posts, which included the last text message he had with his daughter, which shows him correcting her Persian spelling of Ukraine.

There is an eerie photo he posted of a dental appliance he says was found in the wreckage, the same appliance he asked his wife to bring home to him.

She says the father and daughter shared a special bond of reading and travel and says she had hoped the daughter would someday get to experience life of travel as an adult.

"But she's not growing older anymore," she says.

The cause of the plane crash remains under investigation. Iran blamed “human error” for the shootdown.

Authorities say 176 people died.

Hassan Rezaeifar, the head of the Iranian investigation team, said Friday that recovering data from the black box flight recorders could take more than a month and that the entire investigation could stretch into next year.