Tributes have been paid to a Sussex man who was tragically killed in the Iran plane crash.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT) on Wednesday (January 8).
Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, who lived in Brighton and ran Smarty’s Dry Cleaners in Hassocks, was among 176 people on board who died in the crash.
Commenting on the tragic news, local MP Andrew Griffith (Arundel & South Downs), said: “My thoughts are with the immediate family of Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh who have so tragically lost a father and a husband. I have also today spoken to the Foreign Office Minister who has confirmed that the government is working closely with the Ukrainian and the Iranian authorities.”
Steve Edgington, 67, who owns Hassocks Pet Centre which is next door to the dry cleaners, said Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, who he knew as Rez, was a ‘lovely and quiet man’.
“We had been neighbours for 14 years – he got on with his job, he was very hardworking,” he said.
He recently turned 40 – he was very supportive to his staff – the girls loved him dearly.Steve Edgington
“He told me he was going back to Iran to visit his family, he went once a year.
“He recently moved from Haywards Heath to Brighton – about a year ago. He was very tolerant of my cats – he was very good with them! His young daughter used to come and see them on a Saturday.”
Mr Edgington said he woke up on Wednesday and heard about the plane crash on the news.
“I knew he was flying home and I thought, I hope he is not on that plane,” he commented.
“Then I went to work and the girls turned up (his staff) and they got a phone call and then shut the shop.
“It is awful. It is bad enough when you hear of someone dying but when it is in these sorts of circumstances – I was shocked.
“He recently turned 40 – he was very supportive to his staff – the girls loved him dearly. We had the same landlord – he had just signed a ten-year lease on his shop.”
Mr Edgington confirmed this morning (January 9), that the dry cleaners had reopened today.
Ukraine International Airlines said the last scheduled maintenance of the aircraft took place on Monday (January 6).
It said an investigation will be conducted with the involvement of the aviation authorities of Ukraine, Iran, representatives of the Boeing manufacturer, the airline, and the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine.
A spokesman said: “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.
“With immediate effect, UIA has decided to suspend its flights to Tehran until further notice.”
The aircraft was built in 2016 and delivered directly to the airline from the manufacturer.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight. We are urgently seeking confirmation about how many British nationals were on board and will do all we can to support any families affected.”