Twenty minutes before the plane took off from the Iranian capital, Sheyda Shadkhoo called her husband from aboard the flight. She wanted him to reassure her that everything would be fine, he said.
She’d taken three weeks off from her job in Toronto to visit her mother and sisters in Tehran. Her vacation was over, and she was heading back to Canada to her husband, Hassan Shadkhoo. Her flight was leaving from Tehran to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev early Wednesday.
“I spoke to her … 20 minutes before the plane took off,” he said Wednesday night in Toronto. She was worried about the tensions between Tehran and the United States after President Donald Trump ordered the killing of a top Iranian general last week.
“She wanted me to assure her that there wasn’t going to be a war. I told her not to worry. Nothing’s gonna happen,” her husband told CNN’s news partner CBC. “She said, ‘OK. They’re telling me to turn off my phone. Goodbye.’ That was it.”
The Kiev-bound Ukraine International Airlines flight never made it to its destination. It crashed in Tehran minutes after takeoff, killing all 176 people aboard, including Sheyda Shadkhoo and 62 other Canadians.
Hassan Shadkhoo said his wife had a premonition the plane was going down, and was worried about the people she was leaving behind. She posted a selfie on Instagram expressing her fears before she left Iran.
“She knew. Look at her face, look at the poem that she wrote,” he said as he held up his phone to show the photo she posted. Then he read the words she wrote, his voice breaking.
“I’m leaving but … what’s behind me worries me,” he read. “Behind me, behind me. I’m scared for the people behind me.”
Hassan Shadkhoo said he’s devastated and can’t imagine life without his wife of 10 years. He was on his way to see his wife’s relatives in Tehran on Wednesday night.
“She was an angel,” he told CBC. ” … I wish I didn’t exist right now.”
There are conflicting reports on what caused the plane crash, and Iranian and Ukrainian officials have said they’re not going to speculate.
The crash came hours after Iran fired a number of missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops in retaliation for the general’s killing, sparking questions over the timing of the incident.