Tributes have been paid to three British nationals who died when a Ukrainian plane crashed in Iran.
Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners, BP engineer Sam Zokaei and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi were all on board the flight.
They were among the 176 people from seven countries who died in the crash.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).
The airline said the plane underwent scheduled maintenance on Monday.
A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was “working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities” over the crash, and there was “no indication” the plane was brought down by a missile.
As well as the three Britons, the victims in the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians – including all of the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, Ukraine foreign affairs minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
Rescue teams have been sent to the crash site but the head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state media that it was “impossible” for anyone to have survived the crash.
Tributes were paid locally to Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, who ran a neighbourhood dry cleaners in Hassocks, West Sussex, and had a nine-year-old daughter.
Steve Edgington from the pet shop next door said he had known Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh for 14 years, and described him as a lovely, hardworking man who was good at his job and loved by staff.
Savvas Savvidis, 36, who rented a room in Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh’s home in Brighton, said he was a “super-nice person”.
“It’s so sad. Before he left we had a conversation, he told me that he spent all his life working, working really hard, and now finally he wants to start to enjoy life a bit more.”
Mr Savvidis described Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh as a humble man who loved his daughter very much.
The dry cleaners closed on Wednesday, with neighbouring businesses telling the BBC that staff were too upset to stay open.
Meanwhile, in a statement, BP said “with the deepest regret” that its employee Mr Zokaei, 42, from Twickenham, was among the passengers.
Mr Zokaei had been on holiday. He had worked for BP for 14 years and was based at the company’s site in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey.
“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,” BP said.
A friend of Mr Zokaei, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC they were “still in shock”.
“He was a highly accomplished person. Very clever and very friendly. Always smiling and full of positive energy. He will be sorely missed.
“He was always trying new adventures. He cycled and toured Europe on bikes a few times. He also loved travelling to interesting far out places.”
Also killed was Mr Tahmasebi, 35, who worked as an engineer for Laing O’Rourke in Dartford.
Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also listed as a passenger on the plane.
“Everyone here is shocked and saddened by this very tragic news,” said Laing O’Rourke.
“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.”
‘Humble and generous’
Mr Tahmasebi – whose full name was Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi – was also a part-time PhD student at Imperial College London’s Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are deeply saddened at this tragic news. Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was a brilliant engineer with a bright future.
“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. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Saeed’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as all those affected by this tragedy.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both said their thoughts were with the families of those killed.
A UK Foreign Office spokesman has said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight.”
They said it was “urgently seeking confirmation” about how many British nationals were on board and would be supporting any families affected.
Melinda Simmons, British ambassador to Ukraine, said her thoughts are with those affected.
Ukraine’s state aviation service has forbidden its national airlines from using Iranian airspace from Thursday, with the restrictions in place until an investigation into the cause of the crash has concluded.
Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran and Iranian state television both initially said technical issues caused the crash.
But the embassy later removed this statement and said any comment regarding the cause of the accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.
Ukraine said its entire civilian aviation fleet would be checked for airworthiness and criminal proceedings would be opened into the disaster.
The country’s president warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports were ready.
Ukrainian International Airlines said the flight disappeared from radar just a “few minutes” after take-off.
The Ukrainian national carrier said according to preliminary data there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board but its staff were “clarifying the exact number”.
“The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims,” a statement said.
The airline, which is investigating the crash, said the aircraft – a Boeing 737-800 – was built in 2016 and had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
There was no sign of any problems with the plane before take-off and the airline’s president said it had an “excellent, reliable crew”.
A statement from Boeing said its “heartfelt thoughts” were with all those affected following the “tragic event”.
There are several thousand Boeing 737-800s in operation around the world which have completed tens of millions of flights. They have been involved in 10 incidents, including this crash, where at least one passenger was killed, aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC.
This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.
The British Airways strike next month is to cause at least five consecutive days of flight cancellations.
BA pilots announced three days of strikes – taking place on 9, 10 and 27 September – in a dispute over pay.
Despite the first strikes being on 9 and 10 September, some customers flying between the 8th and 12th have been told their flight has been cancelled – and to rebook or get a refund.
One customer told the BBC their flight on 25 September had been cancelled.
Many people have said they have been unable to get through to BA to make alternative arrangements.
BA says it carries 145,000 customers every day – with a fleet of more than 280 aircraft – and a BA plane takes off from somewhere in the world every 90 seconds.
BA said in a statement: “We are doing absolutely everything we can to prevent this unfair action from taking place and ruining our customers’ travel plans.
“Airlines have a very complex operation and during times of widespread disruption, there can be knock-on effects onto flights on other days.”
Customers have reported receiving emails late on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday morning informing them their flight had been cancelled.
Many have taken to social media to complain that they have been unable to rebook via the website or get through on BA’s phone lines.
Abby Deem, 32, from Cambridge said her honeymoon plans had been “ruined” after her business class flight to Mauritius on 9 September was cancelled.
“We’ve been looking forward to this flight for a year,” she said.
“Neither of us have ever had the luxury to travel business class, and after the wedding it seemed the perfect way to start our honeymoon.”
She said she felt sick when her fiance Jonathan got a text to say the flight had been cancelled.
They have now booked economy flights with Emirates and they estimate it will cost them an extra £500.
Jennifer Bond, from Manchester, was due to fly to Las Vegas with her fiance Simon to get married but their flights to and from Las Vegas (11 and 25 September) have been cancelled.
She said: “Nearly two years of saving up and budgeting relentlessly and this happens three weeks before we fly.”
It was “impossible” to get through to BA on the phone, she added, so they have booked new flights with Virgin – costing £700 more than their original flights.
“We’re now out of pocket and the time to process a refund is four weeks,” she said. “It’s disgraceful.”
Another customer, Anna Redding, was scheduled to fly to Nairobi with her partner for their honeymoon on 11 September and return on 27 September – when the final strike is scheduled to take place.
They received an email saying their outward flight had been cancelled, and their return flight had been delayed.
She said they had also saved up to upgrade to first class flights as it was a “once in a lifetime” holiday.
They have been unable to get through to BA on the phone and she said the advice is unclear, adding: “Do we try to get another flight with someone else but lose the first class or do we wait just in case but risk not getting any other flights?”
The company’s Twitter feed was inundated with messages from frustrated customers, with some saying their cancelled flights were still on sale.
In response to one customer, BA said some flights before and after the strike were “still subject to disruption due to operational reasons, including crew rostering and positioning of aircraft”.
Travel expert Simon Calder explained it had turned into five successive days of cancellations because BA would not send a flight to, for example, Hong Kong, if a pilot was going to go on strike the next day.
He also said BA has to find customers “an alternative flight on the same day if it possibly can, even if it means buying you a ticket on another airline”.
If you are delayed overnight, he said BA has to pay for a hotel and meals.
He added: “The worst thing you can do is take a full refund because then you will be buying another ticket yourself and that could well cost more.”
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said on Friday the strikes were a “last resort” born out of “enormous frustration” with airline management.
Pilots have rejected a pay increase worth 11.5% over three years, which the airline put forward in July.
What can I claim if my flight has been affected by the strikes?
If your flight has been cancelled because airline staff are striking, the the Civil Aviation Authority said, then this would be considered within the airline’s control, and therefore you have a legal right to either:
- A full refund, and this includes flights in the same journey that might be from a different airline (for example, an onward or return flight)
- A replacement flight to get to your destination
- Or, if you are part way through your journey and don’t want a replacement flight, you are entitled to a flight back to the airport you originally departed from
In some cases, passengers may be entitled to additional cash compensation for the inconvenience – but only if you receive notice that your flight is affected less than 14 days before departure.
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:
Arsenal, Manchester City, Glasgow City and Hibernian will learn their Women’s Champions League last-32 opponents when the draw is made on Friday [12:30 BST].
Women’s Super League champions Arsenal are back in the competition for the first time since 2013-14.
Hibernian pipped Welsh side Cardiff Met in qualifying, joining Scottish champions Glasgow City and England’s top two clubs in the knockout stages.
French side Lyon have won the European title in each of the past four seasons.
Last-32 ties will be played over two legs in September, with the first legs on 11-12 September and the second legs on 25-26 September.
Lyon – whose squad contains England quartet Lucy Bronze, Nikita Parris, Alex Greenwood and Izzy Christiansen – are the favourites to lift the trophy again at this season’s final in Vienna, Austria on 24 May 2020.
Arsenal and Hibs are both unseeded for Friday’s draw and fans will hope their side avoid a tie against one of the stronger seeded sides, including the holders and last season’s beaten finalists, Barcelona.
The Gunners are the only British women’s club side to have won a major European title, lifting the title in 2007 as they secured a quadruple of trophies.
Chelsea reached last season’s semi-finals in Europe but their third-place finish in the WSL last term saw them miss out on qualification for this campaign.
BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.