Three British men killed in Iran plane crash identified

(L-R) Mr Tahmasebi, Mr Zokaei, Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Three British men who were killed when a Ukranian passenger plane crashed in Iran have been identified.

Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi, of West London, Sam Zokaei, from Surrey, and Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, from near Brighton, were among the 176 people that died on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight.

The aircraft crashed just moments after taking off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran at 6.10am (local time) this morning.

Nine members of crew and at least 26 children were also on board.

Officials in Iran blamed an engine fire, while the Ukrainian president has ordered a criminal investigation into the crash.

The airline ruled out human error, saying: “According to our records, the aircraft ascended as high as 2,400 metres.

“Given the crew's experience, error probability is minimal. We do not even consider such a chance.”

Mr Tahmasebi, 35, was a post-graduate researcher at Imperial College London, where his engineering colleagues said he “had a bright future”.

A spokesman from the university said: “His contributions to systems engineering earned respect from everyone who dealt with him and will benefit society for years to come.

“He was a warm, humble and generous colleague, and close friend to many in our community.”

Forty-two-year-old Mr Zokaei was also an engineer and had worked at BP for more than a decade.

In a tribute the company said: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our friend and colleague, and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, ran a dry cleaners near Brighton – staff at a neighbouring pet store said he was “a lovely man [with] a lovely smile”.

The crash came amid rising tension in the area following the assassination of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani by US forces last week.

The country retaliated to the attack by launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two air bases in Iraq that housed US troops.

A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was "working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities" over the crash.

The spokesman said there was "no indication" the plane was brought down by a missile, after the Ukrainian authorities refused to rule out the prospect.

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