MH17: All walks of life among passengers on downed Malaysia pla - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

MH17: All walks of life among passengers on downed Malaysia plane

Posted: Updated:
Relatives of passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 react as they arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, July 18, 2014. (AP Photo) Relatives of passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 react as they arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, July 18, 2014. (AP Photo)
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — International passengers from all walks of life, from a prominent AIDS researcher and soccer fans to a nun and a florist, were aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

The Boeing 777 was carrying 298 people when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday in eastern Ukraine, sending shockwaves around the world from Malaysia to the Netherlands.

Relatives, friends and colleagues paid tribute Friday to victims even before the airline released their names as it scrambled to contact the next of kin of the victims.

A Malaysia Airlines vice president, Huib Gorter, said 189 of the passengers were Dutch. There were also 29 Malaysians, 28 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine from the United Kingdom, four each from Germany and Belgium, three from the Philippines, one each from Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong, according to the airline and officials in Australia and Hong Kong. Two passengers' nationalities remained to be confirmed.

For one Australian family, the Ukraine crash represented an almost unbelievable double tragedy.

Kaylene Mann's brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 when it vanished in March. On Friday, Mann found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed on Flight 17.

"It's just brought everyone, everything back," said Greg Burrows, Mann's brother. "It's just ... ripped our guts again."

Several passengers were traveling to Melbourne, Australia, for the 20th International AIDS conference, which was starting Sunday.

The Academic Medical Center hospital in Amsterdam said in a statement that two of its staff, including renowned AIDS researcher Joep Lange, a former president of the International AIDS Society, and his colleague Jacqueline van Tongeren were believed to have perished.

"Joep was a man who knew no barriers," the hospital said. "He was a great inspiration for everybody who wanted to do something about the AIDS tragedy in Africa and Asia."

A World Health Organization spokesman traveling to the conference was also killed.

Most of the victims were Dutch. The flight set off from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport during the country's school summer vacation period and was heading for the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

In the close-knit fishing town of Volendam, near the Dutch capital, flowers were laid outside a florist's shop whose owner and her boyfriend also were believed to be among the victims.

A handwritten note taped to the storefront above a bunch of orange roses, read: "Dear Cor and Neeltje. This is unwanted, unbelievable and unfair. Rest in peace. We will never forget you."

Dutch activist Pim de Kuijer, once a political intern of former Dutch lawmaker Lousewies van der Laan, was also among the dead.

On Twitter, Van der Laan called him "a brilliant, inspiring and caring activist fighting for equality and helping AIDS victims around the world."

A Dutch senator, Willem Witteveen of the Labor Party, also died, the Dutch Senate announced.

In Kuala Lumpur, a distraught Akmar Mohamad Noor, 67, said her older sister was coming to visit the family for the first time in five years.

"She called me just before she boarded the plane and said, 'See you soon,'" Akmar said.

Students at Sydney Catholic school Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart gathered Friday for a special prayer meeting after it was confirmed that Sister Philomene Tiernan, a 77-year-old teacher, was killed.

"We're absolutely devastated. For me, she's been a great mentor and she's also a personal friend," school principal Hilary Johnston-Croke said, her voice breaking with emotion.

Another Australian school, Toorak College in Melbourne, was also affected. Teacher Frankie Davison and her husband Liam were on the stricken flight, the school announced.

"Our hearts and sympathy goes out to their children Milly and Sam, and family," the school wrote. "We are devastated by the news of this tragedy."

The Minkema College high school in the central Dutch town of Woerden also lost three pupils, all from different families. It didn't release their identities.

The school's principal, Alice Timmermans, opened the building for students, parents and teachers to console one another.

Australian sports clubs also were hit by the tragedy.

Victoria state real estate agent Albert Rizk and his wife Maree Rizk were both killed, leaving a hole in a local football club.

Phil Lithgow, president of the Sunbury Football Club, said Albert was a member of the club's committee, Maree was a volunteer in the canteen and their son, James, played on the club's team.

"They were very lovely people, you wouldn't hear a bad word about them — very generous with their time in the community, very community-minded, and just really very entertaining people to be with," Lithgow said.

Nick Norris, 68, from the Western Australia city of Perth, and his three grandchildren, Mo Maslin, 12, Evie Maslin, 10, and Otis Maslin, 8, were on Flight 17, said David Harries, general manager of the South of Perth Yacht Club — of which Norris was a member.

Harries issued a statement on behalf of Norris' wife, Lindy, that said Nick was an active sailor.

"Nick and Lindy are well loved and respected members of the club who contributed selflessly as volunteers for yachting regattas and events," the club said in a statement.

Nick's grandchildren were also members of the club, along with their parents.

English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United said two of its fans who were flying to watch the team's tour of New Zealand were also among the dead. The club's website named the supporters as John Alder and Liam Sweeney.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said "myself and all the players are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news."

A famous Dutch sporting event, the Nijmegen Four Day Walk, also was hit as it passed through the town of Cuijk on what is normally a festive final day.

The town's mayor, Wim Hillenaar, said a family of four, including two staff at the municipality, was "very probably" killed.

"You almost can't grasp the news," he said. "It fills us all — municipal workers and colleagues — with terrible grief."

Hillenaar said he wouldn't hand out flowers to the thousands of walkers who take part in the event as he usually does.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization said its spokesman Glenn Thomas, a 49-year-old Briton, was killed.

Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the U.N. health agency, said Thomas was traveling to Melbourne to attend the AIDS conference.

Hartl said Thomas "will be remembered for his ready laugh and his passion for public health."

In Amsterdam, grieving relatives of the victims gathered in a hotel at Schiphol, kept away from waiting reporters.

Dutch cyclists competing in the Tour de France wore black armbands in a show of solidarity with relatives, while a live radio report of the race was cancelled.

___

Associated Press writer Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, and A
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Murder trial underway; suspect faces multiple charges

    Murder trial underway; suspect faces multiple charges

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:47 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:47:13 GMT
    Major Pasley is accused of shooting and killing a man in front of the Birmingham Police Department's Central Headquarters on February 17, 2013.More >>
    Major Pasley is accused of shooting and killing a man in front of the Birmingham Police Department's Central Headquarters on February 17, 2013.
    More >>
  • Town Hall meeting on police and minority relations

    Town Hall meeting on police and minority relations

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:35 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:35:18 GMT
    In light of the events in Ferguson, Missouri community and police leaders will be participating in a town hall meeting.A number of people will be there from law enforcement to UAB professors. They will be discussing police and minority relations.More >>
    In light of the events in Ferguson, Missouri community and police leaders will be participating in a town hall meeting.A number of people will be there from law enforcement to UAB professors. They will be discussing police and minority relations.More >>
  • Five teens with masks & fake guns stopped in Hueytown

    Five teens with masks & fake guns stopped in Hueytown

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:50:27 GMT
    Halloween masks, even the scary ones, are meant to be fun. Pair a mask with a gun and you've got a formula for disaster. That's why a tipster called police over five teenagers in Hueytown. Turns out the "guns" weren't real. But the police chief is convinced this tipster stopped a crime and perhaps saved lives. Hueytown police chief Chuck Hagler believes these five teenagers will not be charged with any crime. They should be thanking police. Hagler is convinced they were headed for trouble....More >>
    Halloween masks, even the scary ones, are meant to be fun. Pair a mask with a gun and you've got a formula for disaster. That's why a tipster called police over five teenagers in Hueytown. Turns out the "guns" weren't real. But the police chief is convinced this tipster stopped a crime and perhaps saved lives. Hueytown police chief Chuck Hagler believes these five teenagers will not be charged with any crime. They should be thanking police. Hagler is convinced they were headed for trouble....More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Town Hall meeting on police and minority relations

    Town Hall meeting on police and minority relations

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:35 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:35:18 GMT
    In light of the events in Ferguson, Missouri community and police leaders will be participating in a town hall meeting.A number of people will be there from law enforcement to UAB professors. They will be discussing police and minority relations.More >>
    In light of the events in Ferguson, Missouri community and police leaders will be participating in a town hall meeting.A number of people will be there from law enforcement to UAB professors. They will be discussing police and minority relations.More >>
  • Anniston appoints new school board member; discusses school consolidation

    Anniston appoints new school board member; discusses school consolidation

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:13 PM EDT2014-09-16 01:13:45 GMT
    The Anniston City Council named a former mayor of Weaver as the city's newest board of education member. Ed Kimbrough will replace Donna Ross, who submitted a letter of resignation two weeks ago as she and her family move out of state. Kimbrough was one of three candidates interviewed by the council for the position, along with former Macon County board of education member Ernest Washington, and Andrew Hatley, who previously served on both the Anniston City Council and Board of Education.More >>
    The Anniston City Council named a former mayor of Weaver as the city's newest board of education member. Ed Kimbrough will replace Donna Ross, who submitted a letter of resignation two weeks ago as she and her family move out of state. Kimbrough was one of three candidates interviewed by the council for the position, along with former Macon County board of education member Ernest Washington, and Andrew Hatley, who previously served on both the Anniston City Council and Board of Education.More >>
  • Should law enforcement be able to use military equipment?

    Should law enforcement be able to use military equipment?

    Friday, September 12 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-09-12 20:10:46 GMT
    Events in Ferguson, Missouri sparked a debate about law enforcement's use of military equipment. Local agencies say for them, it's about protection.  More >>
    Events in Ferguson, Missouri sparked a debate about law enforcement's use of military equipment. Local agencies say for them, it's about protection.  More >>
  • Tuscaloosa Area NewsMore>>

  • Alabama hoping to fully utilize offensive arsenal against Florida

    Alabama hoping to fully utilize offensive arsenal against Florida

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:03 AM EDT2014-09-16 15:03:15 GMT
    Alabama has experienced receivers, a deep and talented backfield and a preseason All-Southeastern Conference tight end.More >>
    Alabama has experienced receivers, a deep and talented backfield and a preseason All-Southeastern Conference tight end.
    More >>
  • Teach for America-Alabama to welcome new Hale Co. members

    Teach for America-Alabama to welcome new Hale Co. members

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:32 AM EDT2014-09-16 12:32:10 GMT
    Today, Teach for America-Alabama will welcome new corps members who are teaching in Hale County this year.More >>
    Today, Teach for America-Alabama will welcome new corps members who are teaching in Hale County this year.More >>
  • Blake Sims leads Alabama to 52-12 win over Southern Miss

    Blake Sims leads Alabama to 52-12 win over Southern Miss

    Saturday, September 13 2014 11:25 PM EDT2014-09-14 03:25:34 GMT
    Blake Sims passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a third in three quarters and might have staked his claim as No. 3 Alabama's undisputed starting quarterback in a 52-12 victory over Southern Miss on Saturday night.More >>
    Blake Sims passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a third in three quarters and might have staked his claim as No. 3 Alabama's undisputed starting quarterback in a 52-12 victory over Southern Miss on Saturday night.
    More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...