ID confirmed of Edmonton university student missing after attack in France
MacEwan University has confirmed that the Edmonton student missing after a deadly attack in Nice, France, is Mykhaylo Bazelevskyy.
Bazelevskyy, 22, was in France attending an innovation program at the European Innovation Academy. He has not been seen since the truck attack took place.
“We have no knowledge of his whereabouts or status,” university president David Atkinson said Friday.
“As time passes, we become more concerned about what that means.”
On Thursday night, a truck sped through a crowd gathered for a Bastille Day celebration along the French Rivera city’s waterfront promenade, killing 84 and leaving 52 victims in critical condition. Twenty-five victims remain on life-support.
Atkinson said Bazelevskyy is a Ukrainian national who came to MacEwan as an international student and later got permanent resident status in Canada. He travelled on a Ukrainian passport, which may explain why no Canadians were listed among the victims in Nice, Atkinson said.
The university has been in contact with Bazelevskyy’s brother and sister-in-law in Edmonton, who in turn have been communicating with the student’s parents, who are in Ukraine.
“We have been in contact with his family [in Edmonton] on several occasions,” Atkinson said. “Of course they are distraught, wanting to know, like we do, further information of what might be happening in Nice. They in turn have been in touch with Misha’s parents in Ukraine, and so we all are, essentially, sitting here, waiting for more information.”
The university community remains “always eternally optimistic,” Atkinson said.
“Misha was an important person in our university life. He was a member of our varsity golf team. He works as a game-day staffer for our varsity athletics. He is a residence assistant. I understand, in fact, that he actually ran for office in the last [students’ association] election. He’s been here for four years; he’s an important part of our community.
“And so there is nothing worse than the possibility that you might lose a student, because all of the future and all of the promise that goes with that is no longer there.
Rob Schaeffer, who attended university with Bazelevskyy and sat on university boards with him, described him as “an innovator” who “always had a smile on his face.”
“He is a great guy,” Schaeffer said. “He’s somebody that, through MacEwan, is trying to accomplish many great things and genuinely seemed like he wanted to make everyone’s lives better.”
A total of five students and one faculty member from the university’s school of business have been taking part in an innovation program at the European Innovation Academy in Nice. The other students are Derek Anderson, Alanna Brokop, Ismail Khalil and Rebecca Smillie. The faculty member is Launa Linaker, who teaches in the business management program.
The group was in Nice for about five weeks before Thursday’s attack.
“We’re endeavouring to get them back home as quickly as we possibly can,” Atkinson said. “They want to come home.
“Until we get official confirmation from either the French authorities or the Canadian authorities, then as far as we’re concerned, we just don’t know anything. We’re just going to have to be patient, as hard as that is, until we get some confirmation.”
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Danika McConnell, president of the MacEwan students’ association, said Bazelevskyy is well known on campus.
A wave of “shock and concern” went through the student community when people learned a student was missing, McConnell said. “I was struck, so was our team, our entire association, and I’m sure all of the students in the entire MacEwan community.”
She said mental health and counselling resources will be made available to students.
“This is something that doesn’t happen close to home, and then when it begins to affect your students, you’re struck and you’re shocked and you can only hope for the best,” said McConnell.