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Netherlands Declares Day of Mourning Following Crash

Published: July 18, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



  • The Dutch flag at half-mast at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, from which Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 departed.
    Photo: Tom Jutte / Flickr

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.

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 — at least 173 — were Dutch. The flight set off for Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in the country's school summer vacation period and was heading for the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

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