Tragedy of MH17

A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows a Malaysia Airlines closed counter at the Schiphol airport near Amsterdam after a Malaysian airliner crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine. Image: Getty Images/AFP/Olaf Kraak

It’s been right at 24 hours since reports began to filter out about a plane crash in the Ukraine.  As time has moved forward, we’ve since learned that it was Malaysian Airways flight #17 originating in Amsterdam and was scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I have my own gripes about things I’ve already been seeing and reading online, but this is to remember those who won’t walk down that jetway to be greeted by awaiting family, friends, and acquaintances.

For the moment, I haven’t heard reports of any Americans being on board, but the full manifest hasn’t been released yet.  For those on board, however, I’ve heard nothing but great stories on tv being told about them.

Passenger Cor Pan actually made a joke in reference to another Malaysian Airways Boeing 777 flight before boarding MH17.  On Facebook, he posted a photo of a Malaysian Airways 777 with the caption, “If we disappear, this is what the plane looks like.”  His Facebook page has comments on that post as his friends realized that he was on board the flight that was shot down.

There was a group of AIDS researchers on their way to Melbourne, Australia for a conference.  The number has been reportedly around 100 people were headed to the AIDS 2014 conference.  Several prominent researchers, including Joep Lange, who has been working in  AIDS research since 1983.  At the time of the crash, he was the head of the Department of Global Health at the University of Amsterdam.

The one story that really brought home the painful reality of this tragedy is the story of Kaylene Mann.  She lost her brother Rod Burrows and his wife Mary when MH370 disappeared earlier this year.  Tragedy struck her family again with MH17 as her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was one of the passengers aboard that ill-fated flight.  I don’t know what I’d do if I were in her shoes, but I don’t think this would be an easily handled situation.

There are many more stories that will come out.  Listening to CNN yesterday, I heard two stories about people on that flight.  One was in relation to a flight attendant working the flight.  The person telling the story was a good friend who dropped her off and told her she’d see her when she returned.  Another person talked about a friend that she missed contact with when he was close to her in Chicago earlier this year.  Her voice cracked when she talked about how she wish she had made the time to meet with him in person.

May God bring peace to those affected by the loss of friends, family, and colleagues.

[Update 7/19 @ 11:13 EST]

Malaysian Airlines has released the passenger manifest.  It looks like many passengers were families heading on vacation.  You can find it here.

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6 thoughts on “Tragedy of MH17

    • I tried my best to make this one solemn because I’m venting right now on the next one. If anybody affected happens to come across this blog, I hope this is the one they read.

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  1. You mentioned CNN coverage; I spent several hours watching AlJazeera America. The coverage was live with NO comercial breaks. AttUverse finally got its act together so I can now get this channel.

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    • I forget about AlJazeera because it’s much further down the channel list. I’ve been reading BBC and others online who are much closer to the situation. Some Americans tend to forget that everything isn’t about America.

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  2. I heard a report yesterday (don’t remember where) that there were 23 Americans on board. Don’t know if that’s been confirmed or discredited. When something like this happens I try to spend a few minutes on several different channels.

    My guess is they thought they were shooting at a military transport or cargo plane but I don’t have any info that anybody else doesn’t (and probably less than some).

    Whatever happened, the people who paid the price had nothing to do with it either way, which is often how things happen in this world.

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    • I’ve seen different numbers, and one was identified today. I’ve been surfing European news outlets for most of the information I’ve read.

      You’re right in that the people who were on that plane had absolutely nothing to do with what was going on on the ground. There was two planes shot down in that area within the past 2-3 days, so I’m not even sure why any commercial aviation was allowed in that region.

      The usual flight path for that particular flight took it right over Crimea. US carriers have been forbidden from flying in that area because of the fighting. I guess some carriers weighed the cost of safety vs saving fuel. This particular time, it came back to bite the carrier.

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