MH17 families gather at airport

Last updated 11:26 18/07/2014
MH17 families
Reuters

ANGER: A man, who said he believes he had a relative on MH17 is restrained while waiting for more information about the crashed plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Malaysia PM MH17
Reuters
INVESTIGATING: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak demanded swift justice for those responsible if it was found that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down.

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Dazed and disbelieving, relatives of passengers aboard the Malaysian airliner downed in Ukraine have gathered at the Kuala Lumpur airport, demanding information about what happened and getting little response.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 298 people on board was to have landed in Kuala Lumpur at 6.10am local time on a flight from Amsterdam. It went down near the Ukraine-Russia border and all aboard were killed.

"I saw the news on TV," said Akma Mohammad Noor, a woman whose sister, Rahimah, was travelling on the flight. "She was supposed to travel with her son but he did not want to go."

Like many Malaysian Muslims, Rahimah was coming to her home country for the Eid al-Fitr festival, Islam's biggest annual celebration, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, on July 28.

"We were supposed to celebrate Raya (the festival) together," Noor said, weeping.

Her sister, who has lived in Geneva for three decades, was coming home for the first time in five years, she said.

The loss of flight MH17 is the second disaster for Malaysia Airlines this year, following the mysterious loss of flight MH370.

It disappeared in March with 239 passengers and crew, including two New Zealanders, on board on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Other relatives in Kuala Lumpur were incensed with the airline for not giving information about who was on the flight.

One man was berating officials.

"Is MAS stupid?" he shouted, referring to the Malaysia Airlines System, the official name of the airline. "We just want to know the name list from MAS."

He said his sister, brother-in-law and a two-year-old baby were believed to be on board.

"Facebook is more efficient than MAS' media network," said another man waiting with a female relative for news.

"It's so funny. It's really a laughing stock. We need to know the list. The list. That is all."

Video of the site where the Boeing 777 crashed has revealed images of victims' passports, which have been doing the rounds of social media.

At least one Australian passport has been spotted:

Unconfirmed reports of several names on passports have been published.

Families and friends of potential victims are grieving on Twitter:

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A crew list from Malaysia's New Straits Times has also been tweeted:

Malaysia Airlines said earlier air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight at 2.15pm as it flew over eastern Ukraine towards the Russian border.

Flight tracking data indicated it was at its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 metres) when it disappeared.

 

- Reuters

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