Ajax, Ont., man killed on Malaysia Airlines flight

Andrei Anghel.

Andrei Anghel.

Jenny Yuen and Angela Hennessy, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:42 PM ET

AJAX, Ont. ─ The last time Alexandra Anghel spoke to her brother Andrei was right before he boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

The 24-year-old Ajax man and his girlfriend were among the 298 people killed aboard a Malaysian airliner brought down in eastern Ukraine Thursday, QMI Agency has learned.

"I said, 'Please be safe, kiddo, I love you,'" Alexandra Anghel, 26, said at the family's Ajax home, just east of Toronto on Friday. "He promised he would be OK and we're all worrying for nothing. That he's just going on vacation and will have a great time."

Andrei Anghel, a University of Waterloo graduate, had been studying in Romania, his sister said.

Anghel's parents ─ Anca and Sorin ─ contacted Malaysia Airlines and confirmed their son was aboard the ill-fated flight, she said.

Anghel had been planning to go hiking in Bali with his German girlfriend, Olga, who was also aboard the jetliner, Alexandra said. The couple met in school and had been dating for more than a year.

"I just talked to him before he got on the flight at the airport and he was so excited to go," she said. "They'd been planning it for so long and he was just so happy about it."

After the trip, Andrei had planned to come home Aug. 26 to Ajax and spend some time visiting his sister in Edmonton before he went back to school in Europe.

"He kept saying we'd Skype or FaceTime sometime soon and it never happened," she said.

And while Alexandra is 10 days less than two years older than Andrei, "he's been taller than me since Grade 6. Ever since then, I was little sister."

According to Andrei's Facebook page, he was studying general medicine at Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, about 450 kilometres northwest of Bucharest. He graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2012 in biomedical science and had a stint working as a lab assistant at the Canadian Phycological Culture Centre. Before that, he attended Ajax High School.

"Even when he was in high school, he did one of those volunteer trips to Costa Rica and went to the jungle with them and help the families," Alexandra said.

"He was just really happy, he loved life and everything about it and wanted to change the world, wanted to be a doctor."

According to a Russian media outlet, the university in Cluj-Napoca hoisted a black flag ─ a symbol of the school expressing condolences.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said he visited the Anghel family Friday morning to "express my deepest sympathies and to let them know they are in the thoughts and prayers of all Canadians during this time," he said in a statement.

"Andrei represented the best that Ajax and Canada have to offer," Alexander said. "The Canadian government is ready to provide assistance to Ukrainian authorities with the investigation. This is an egregious act of terror with an unacceptable human toll."

Premier Kathleen Wynne gave her own condolences through social media.

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

Alexandra flew home from Edmonton Thursday night to be with her family after she learned of the tragic news from a friend.

"They were messaging me on Facebook, asking me if they were on that flight," she said. "I said the last I heard he would message me when they got to Bali, maybe they had a stop somewhere. She seemed really urgent about it and I knew something was wrong."

Alexandra said she remembers hearing news about the Malaysia flight going down, but thought it was about Flight 370, which had disappeared on March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

After speaking with her parents to confirm the flight times, the airline confirmed her brother was a passenger on Flight 17.

"For sure, I hope someone pays for what they did ─ there were 300 other people that died ─ but it's still not going to bring my brother back," she said, wiping away tears. "Unless you can bring me my brother home in one piece, smiling, so we can go long boarding. I hate talking about him in the past (tense)."


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