Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: WHO spokesman among those dead

People gather next to a sign reading AIDS 2014 in Melbourne on July 18, 2014. Glen Thomas, a World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesman heading to the20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, was among the 298 people killed in the crash in
People gather next to a sign reading AIDS 2014 in Melbourne on July 18, 2014. Glen Thomas, a World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesman heading to the20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, was among the 298 people killed in the crash in eastern Ukraine of a Malaysia Airlines jet, the UN agency said on Friday. -- PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - Glen Thomas, a spokesman for the World Health Organisation (WHO), was among the 298 people killed in the crash in eastern Ukraine of a Malaysia Airlines jet, the UN agency said Friday.

Thomas was headed to Melbourne for a global Aids conference along with dozens of others on the flight that ended in tragedy on Thursday.

"It is with deep sadness that WHO lost one of our colleagues in the Malaysia crash," communications official Gregory Hartl told reporters in Geneva.

Thomas came to WHO from the BBC and was passionate about public health issues, Hartl said, flanked by press service colleagues, several in tears.

"His twin sister said he died doing what he loves," Hartl said, adding that no other UN staff were aboard the doomed airliner.

Many of the journalists attending the briefing had worked with Thomas, and a minute of silence was held in his memory.