As investigators look for answers into a plane crash this week near Kingston, Ont. that claimed seven lives, friends of the victims are working to help families who lost loves ones.
Emergency crews were called to a wooded area about six kilometres north of Norman Rogers Airport on Wednesday evening after a Piper PA-32 crashed.
The American-registered plane took off Wednesday afternoon from Buttonville Municipal Airport in Markham, Ont. and was attempting to land in Kingston.
Amongst the seven killed, three were children and two were a newlywed couple from Toronto. There were no survivors of the crash.
The children belonged to the pilot, identified as Texas resident Otabek Oblokulov and his wife, who also died in the crash, according to family members.
The pilot's brother-in-law identified as Bobomurod Nabiev, and his wife, Sabina Usmanova, were the newlywed Toronto residents.
Toronto resident Rakhmad Sobirov told CTV News Toronto Saturday that he knew Nabiev for more than a decade. He said they both attended Uzbek community events together.
He said that the news about the couple’s death has left him shaken and that the pair had just married in August.
“He's always been a very active member of our community, always helping newcomers to settle down,” Sobirov said. “He was a very open hearted person.”
Sobirov said all seven victims had roots in his home country of Uzebekistan.
Sobirov said he also knew of pilot Oblokulov as someone who always helped others, and as a kind and generous man.
The Toronto resident said his top priority now for his friends is to look after their families.
He said it’s been a challenge to get visas for relatives to travel because most of the family members do not live in Canada
He said he is helping coordinate with officials in multiple countries to help their family members come to Canada and pay their respects.
“They want to come. So we are motivated by their wishes at the moment,” Sobirov said. “This is a great loss to be honest. It’s a great loss.”
Sobirov hopes close family members of the victims are able to arrive in Toronto either Monday or Tuesday.
He said the Uzbek community is small and the tragedy has affected the community as a whole.
“As a community we were shocked to be honest, and I can't imagine what the families are going through. We are trying to maintain as much sanity as possible,” he said.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the crash.
The agency reports that it appears the plane was planned to stop in Kingston before its final destination in Quebec City.
The TSB is working to gather and analyze data from electronic devices and understand the extent to which weather may have been a factor.