Malaysia Airlines' MH17 Victims Included 100 Leading AIDS Researchers, 189 Dutch Victims
Amid the political maelstrom between Russia, Ukraine, and its rebel separatists, the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 is affecting nobody more than the loved ones of the victims. The Boeing 777 jumbo jet was carrying 298 passengers on board when it was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine. From soccer fans to prominent AIDS researchers and politicians, the passengers of MH17 came from all over the world.
Flight MH17 was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was downed over Ukraine. A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News that the aircraft was hit by a single surface-to-air missile while at cruising altitude, according to intelligence and analysis. Officials are still trying to determine where the missile was fired from and who fired it, but in the meantime, investigators continue to identify victims through passports and family statements.
So far, investigators have confirmed all but four of the passengers' nationalities, and a large majority were Dutch. The breakdown of nationalities is as follows: 189 people from the Netherlands, 44 from Malaysia, 27 from Australia, 12 from Indonesia, nine from the U.K., four from Belgium, four from Germany, three from the Philippines, one from Canada, and one from New Zealand.
On Friday afternoon, President Obama confirmed that at least one American was killed in the crash of flight MH17, a man named Quinn Lucas Schansman, before calling for a ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists during the flight investigation.
Here's what we know so far about some of the passengers of flight MH17.
At Least 100 Were Headed to an International AIDS Conference
The 20th International AIDS Conference is scheduled to take place in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday. More than 100 delegates and family members of the conference were on board flight MH17, including Joep Lange, a former president of the International AIDS Society and renowned AIDS researcher.
Other delegates who were reportedly traveling to the conference include Glenn Raymond Thomas, a World Health Organization spokesman, Pim de Kuijer, a Dutch AIDS activist who once interned for former Dutch lawmaker Lousewies van der Laan, and Martine de Schutter, who worked for Bridging the Gap, which provides support for sex workers, LGBT people, and people suffering from substance abuse.
The International AIDS Society posted a statement on its website, saying that the conference is still happening: "In recognition of our colleagues' dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS, the conference will go ahead as planned and will include opportunities to reflect and remember those we have lost."
Someone Who Lost Family on MH370 Has Lost Another Loved One on MH17
In a tragic twist of fate, an Australian woman who had already lost loved ones to a Malaysia Airlines flight is now facing tragedy again. Kaylene Mann had lost her brother, Rod Burrows, and sister-in-law, Mary Burrows, to flight MH370 when it disappeared in March. On Friday, Mann found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed on flight MH17.
"It's just brought everyone, everything back," Greg Burrows, Mann's brother, told the Associated Press. "It's just ... ripped our guts again."
Political Figures, Teachers, Everyday People
No matter where they were from or what profession they held, every victim of flight MH17 was someone's loved one, and will be remembered.
Some of the deceased include a Dutch florist who was traveling with her boyfriend; Dutch Senator Willem Witteveen of the Labor Party; Albert Rizk, president of the Sunbury Football Club; a Perth man who was traveling with his three grandchildren; two fans of the English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United; teacher Frankie Davison and her husband Liam from Toorak College in Melbourne; and an older sister who was going to visit her family in Kuala Lumpur for the first time in five years.