Iran plane crash: Third Brit killed in jet disaster was BP engineer from London

The third British man killed in a fiery plane crash in Iran was an engineer who worked for BP.

Sam Zokaei was travelling back to London via Kyiv the Ukrainian International Airlines jet went down near Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.

It is believed he was on holiday and visiting relatives in his native Iran.

Mr Zokaei, who lived in south-west London, was a senior reservoir engineer working for BP Exploration Operating Company and had worked for the firm for 14 years in a number of roles.

He was based in London but had previously worked in the oil industry in Angola, Egypt, Azerbaijan and on the Iran-Iraq border.

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Mr Zokaei was flying back to London, via Ukraine, when the plane went down

A BP spokesperson told Mirror Online: “With the deepest regret, we can confirm that one of our colleagues at BP, Sam Zokaei, was a passenger on the Ukrainian International Airlines plane that crashed in Iran this morning, reportedly with no survivors.

“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.”

A heartbroken family member confirmed the devastating news on Facebook.

Follow our live blog for updates on the plane crash.

Newlyweds Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi, 35, and Niloofar Ebrahim were also killed

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 He wrote: “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.”

The other two Britons who died were Brighton businessman Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh, 40, and construction firm engineer Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi, 35, whose new wife, Niloofar Ebrahim, was also killed.

Mr Zokaei graduated from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh with a masters in petroleum engineering in 2004.

He described himself on LinkedIn as “a senior reservoir engineer with extensive technical and leadership experiences in reservoir performance, reservoir management and reservoir simulation”.

Brighton businessman Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh, 40, was also killed

Mr Zokaei has been working for BP in a number of roles

A neighbour in North Sheen, near Richmond, told the Telegraph: “This is such awful news. He was a very nice man, always very friendly and polite.

“He often worked away from home for several weeks on end, but whenever I saw him he would wave and say hello.”

The Foreign Office said it is “urgently seeking confirmation” of the British death toll.

A spokesman added: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight.

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“We are urgently seeking confirmation about how many British nationals were on board and will do all we can to support any families affected.”

Mr Tahmasebi was an engineer with construction firm Laing O’Rourke, a researcher PhD candidate at Imperial College London and a graduate of the universities of Surrey, Greenwich and Tehran, according to his Facebook profile.

Originally from Iran, the Brit and his Iranian wife, Niloofar Ebrahim, were on their way back to the UK, via Ukraine, to start their married life together when the tragedy struck.

Mr Tahmasebi, who according to a passenger list was in seat 5D on the flight, lived in Brentwood, Essex, with his sister Salume, according to family. 

Rescue teams work amongst the debris of the plane crash in Tehran (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Tahmasebi worked as an engineer with a firm based in Dartford, Kent (Image: Facebook)

He had lived and worked in Britain for more than 15 years and recently married his wife in the UK.

The newlyweds had travelled to Iran to have a ceremony there.

Mr Tahmasebi’s brother-in-law, Amir Vaheat, 42, said the family were distraught with grief. 

Mr Vaheat told the Times: “Saeed had just got married, he and his wife were on the way back home to start their life together. 

“We spoke to him when he was boarding so we knew he was on the flight, then at about 5.30am this morning UK time we heard the plane had crashed.

Niloofar Ebrahim was sat next to her new husband on the plane

“My wife is going crazy, we cannot believe it. Saeed was such a nice man. All his friends are coming round trying to help, but it is too much for words.” 

A spokesperson for Mr Tahmasebi’s’s employer, Laing O’Rourke, based in Dartford, Kent, told Mirror Online: “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.”

All 176 passengers and crew died when the Ukrainian International Airlines plane crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran at about 6.10am local time on Wednesday.

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Iranian officials said one of the Boeing 737’s engines was on fire when it went down en route to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, from Imam Khomeini airport.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. 

It came hours after hours after an Iranian missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq.   

Melinda Simmons, British ambassador to the Ukraine, said her thoughts are with those affected. 

Some 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 people from the Ukraine, nine of whom were crew members, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans were on board the flight along with three Britons, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said. 

Ukraine has ordered a criminal investigation into the crash, which happened amid escalating tension in the region.

Footage broadcast by Iranian state TV shows burning debris at the crash site (Image: IRINN/AFP via Getty Images)

Earlier in the morning, Iran fired ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases used by US troops.

Qassem Biniaz, a spokesman for Iran’s Road and Transportation Ministry, said it appeared a fire had started in one of the plane’s engines.

The pilot then lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground, Mr Biniaz said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “An investigation commission should be set up of representatives of the civil and aviation agencies responsible for civil aviation. We have to work out all the possible versions. 

“Regardless of the conclusions regarding the causes of the Iranian catastrophe, the airworthiness of the entire civilian fleet will be tested.

“I keep all measures on personal control. I very much ask everyone to refrain from speculation and putting forward untested versions of the disaster before the official announcements.” 

All 176 passengers and crew members were killed in the disaster (Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The airline said it had suspended flights to Tehran until further notice. It also said that the Boeing 737-800 was one of the best in its fleet and was flown by experienced pilots. 

Airline officials said there was no sign that anything was wrong before the plane took off and that it had last been routinely serviced two days before the disaster. 

The plane had mostly been carrying passengers planning to transit via Ukraine to destinations in Europe.

A Boeing statement said: “This is a tragic event and our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. 

“We are in contact with our airline customer and stand by them in this difficult time. 

“We are ready to assist in any way needed.”

The airline said the aircraft was a 737-800, built in 2016. 

A number of 737-800 models have been involved in deadly accidents over the years. 

In March 2016, a FlyDubai 737-800 from Dubai crashed while trying to land at Rostov-on-Don airport in Russia, killing 62. 

A 737-800 flight from Dubai, operated by Air India Express, crashed in May 2010 while trying to land in Mangalore, India, killing more than 150 people. 

However, it is a different model to the Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, which were grounded around the world following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed 157 people shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa in March last year.

This article was originally published on this site.

This article was originally published on this site