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Tributes paid to Ukraine air crash victim Stephen Anderson

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image captionMr Anderson went to school in Inverness and later spent 23 years in the RAF

Tributes have been paid to former RAF search and rescue co-ordinator Stephen Anderson, who was among 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines tragedy in east Ukraine.

The 44-year-old was named as a victim by his employer Maersk Drilling, where he worked as a drilling technician.

The Danish firm said it had received confirmation from Mr Anderson's family that he was on the passenger list.

Mr Anderson spent a total of 23 years in the RAF.

His roles included running the search and rescue and aircraft maintenance teams at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray.

Mr Anderson attended Inverness Royal Academy between 1980 and 1986.

He had been working recently on the drilling rig Maersk Deliverer, which is currently off the coast of west Africa.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was reportedly hit by a missile over a rebel-held area in east Ukraine as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Both Ukraine and the rebels have accused each other of shooting it down.

'Great sadness'

In a statement, Maersk Drilling said: "On Thursday 17 July 2014 at 17.15 CET, we received the news that Malaysian airlines plane MH17 had crashed over Ukraine on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

"It shortly after became evident that one of our colleagues in Maersk Drilling, Stephen Leslie Anderson was booked on the plane, and it's with great sadness that we on 19 July 2014, received confirmation from Stephen Leslie Anderson's family that he was on the passenger list and is presumed dead.

"Our thoughts go out to Stephen Leslie Anderson's family and his colleagues onboard Maersk Deliverer, and we will make every effort possible to support and assist family and colleagues.

"Stephen and his wife Joanna were together for 15 years and the whole family spent last Christmas together. Stephen has left behind a beautiful daughter and a loving family.

"We kindly ask to respect the family's wish not to comment and not to contact them in this difficult time."

On Saturday, First Minister Alex Salmond called for an international investigation to be held into the incident "quickly and effectively", describing it as an "appalling atrocity".

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