Three British passengers perished on the doomed Ukrainian Airlines passenger plane that crashed in Tehran, Iran. They included a businessman who was a father of one, a senior engineer for BP, and a newlywed who perished with his wife. They were named as Sam Zokaei, Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh, and Saeed Tahmasebi.
Iran now admits shooting down the plane, saying it was done accidentally due to human error.
According to UK Mirror, Kadkhoda-Zadeh, 40, was a father of one who was visiting family in Iran for Christmas and lived in Brighton. The site reports that Saeed was originally from Iran and “had been on his way back to the UK with his wife, who he had only recently married.” Zokaei “worked for BP as a senior reservoir engineer and lived in London,” according to Mirror.
Flight 752 was carrying 176 people to Kiev, including 63 Canadians, according to Ukraine’s foreign minister. Flight 752 hurtled, on fire, into a farm field a few minutes after takeoff from the Tehran airport. There were no survivors on the Boeing 737. The tragic news broke after earlier reports of Iranian missiles striking Iraqi bases that house Americans. Multiple news organizations – from CBS to The New York Times – are now reporting that US officials believe Iran likely shot down the plane with an anti-aircraft missile, perhaps accidentally.
Both Ukraine and Iran initially claimed engine malfunction was the more likely cause. The Canadian network, CBC, reported, though, that Ukrainian officials initially agreed with the technical problem cause claim, but “later backed away and declined to offer a cause while the investigation is ongoing.”
Photos that emerged from the scene are grim. They show relief workers picked through the wreckage looking, to no avail, for survivors. The plane was doomed only two minutes after taking off at 6:10 a.m. from Tehran.
According to CNN, the Ukrainian foreign minister said people from these nationalities were on board the doomed aircraft. There are no survivors:
– 82 Iranians
– 63 Canadians
– 11 Ukrainians
– 10 Swedes
– 4 Afghans
– 3 Germans
– 3 British nationals
According to Kyiv Post, most of the plane’s passengers were ultimately destined for Toronto. The Canadian victims included an entire family:
Here’s what you need to know about the three British victims:
Ali Sharma wrote on Facebook: “Lost a dear friend among the passengers. Sam Zokaei, you will always be in our memories and heart. I am heartbroken for this news.??” Another person wrote, “Please stop calling me guys, yes, I lost my second brother too, Sam Zokaei lost his life on this morning’s plane crash as he was coming back to London.”
On Facebook, Zokaei wrote that he lived in London. According to UK Metro, he was 42 years old and worked for BP as a senior reservoir engineer. “He graduated from Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, in 2004 with a masters in petroleum engineering and was believed to be in Iran on holiday,” the site reported.
Another friend wrote on Facebook: “I am absolutely speechless. RIP Sam Zokaei. An old friend that studied at Heriot Watt university here in Edinburgh.”
UK Standard reported that Zokaei had worked for BP for 14 years. Omid Nooranipour, his best friend, told the Standard: “He had been visiting family like any other Iranian does in January. He was coming back today. Everyone is just in shock.” BP also confirmed his death.
Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh
Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh, who was known as “Reza,” was the owner of a dry cleaner shop in Hassocks, according to BBC reporter Charlotte Wright, who said that a man with a business next door described Reza as “a lovely, hardworking man; good at his job; his staff loved him. People here are in shock.” Reza is the man in the picture on left.
Metro reported that Reza is divorced and father to a 9-year-old girl. “He was a really lovely man. This is just so shocking and sad. He was absolutely dedicated to his daughter, he loved her so much and they would do all sorts of things together,” the site quoted a neighbor as saying.
Mirror reported that Mohammad’s company was called Mr. Smarty’s, and added that he had “travelled back to his native Iran to see family over the Christmas period.”
According to Sky News, Saeed Tahmasebi worked for as an engineer for Laing O’Rouke. A spokeswoman for the company said to the British network: “Everyone here is shocked and saddened by this very tragic news.
“Saeed was a popular and well respected engineer and will be missed by many of his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time and we will do all we can to support them through it,” the spokesman added to Sky News.
Mirror reported that he was a newlywed who was killed with his new wife, Niloofar Ebrahim, just weeks after they married. That site gives his full name as Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi, and says he was from Brentwood, Essex.