Tuesday 19 October 2021

Dutch death toll on Ukraine crash plane rises to 173, flags half mast

The number of Dutch nationals killed in Thursday’s plane crash in Ukraine was revised up to 173 on Friday morning, as Malaysia Airlines published more details about those on board the doomed flight.

Public buildings in the Netherlands have their flags at half mast on Friday in the wake of the crash and hundreds of people have been leaving flowers outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev.

Many of those aboard the plane were on their way to an international Aids conference in Melbourne and are thought to include several renowned researchers.

Television programming has been adjusted and celebrations to mark the end of the four-day Nijmegen march have been toned down as a mark of respect, Dutch media report. The planned summer holiday photo session with the Dutch royal family has also been cancelled.

Missile

It is increasingly likely that the Malaysia Airlines plane which crashed close to Ukraine’s border with Russia was shot down by pro-Russian separatists, experts said on Friday.

US officials have told CNN radar has confirmed the Boeing 777 was hit by a surface-to-air missile. The United States is analysing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from, the official said.

Black box

News agency Reuters reports the second black box has been found at the crash site. The first is thought to have been handed over to Moscow on Thursday evening. One black box records plane details such as speed, the other cockpit conversations, Nos television said. 

So far over 120 bodies have been recovered, the Ukraine rescue services have told Russian news agency Interfax.

Reuters also states Russian president Vladimir Putin has telephoned Dutch prime minster Mark Rutte promising him a full and independent inquiry. According to nu.nl, Putin also said the tragedy emphasised the need for a speedy end to the conflict.

Rescue workers

The plane was shot down over an area of Ukraine currently controlled by separatists who have given open access to rescue workers. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has described the apparent shooting down of the plan as ‘an act of terrorism’.

US president Obama has reportedly spoken to Poroshenko to discuss the tragedy and has told him US experts will help any way they can with the investigation.

The UN security council is expected to hold an emergency session later on Friday to discuss the latest events in Ukraine.

Journalist Noah Sneider tweeted from the scene on Thursday night: ‘At crash site of #MH17. Bodies everywhere, organs splayed out. Too gruesome to post photographs. This is an absolute disaster. #ukraine.’

Lucky escape

A family from Zeeland who were booked to fly on Malaysian Airlines MH17 had a lucky escape when they turned up to board the aircraft and found it had been over-booked.

Gert Jansen, his wife Pudji and son Pasha were given alternative seats on a KLM plane flying via Dubai, brother Bert told the Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant.

The Ukraine crash is the biggest air disaster to affect the Netherlands since the 1977 Tenerife air crash when 248 people aboard a KLM flight were killed in a collision with another plane.

 

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