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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Distraught families of passengers waiting at KL airport

Published on Jul 18, 2014 11:04 AM
A man (in blue) whose family was onboard the Malaysia Airlines MH17 consoles another who had just arrived with her wife to receive confirmation that their daughter's family was onboard the plane, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Families of passengers of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 began gathering at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Friday morning to await news of their loved ones, in a repeat of anguished scenes four months ago when Flight MH370 disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

MH17 was reportedly brought down by a missile over eastern Ukraine late on Thursday night. All 298 people on board, among them nationals from at least nine countries, were killed.

Datin Siti Dina, whose daughter Ms Sheliza Zaini Dina and her family were among the passengers on MH17, told reporters in a brief interview at the airport that the family had scant information and was still recovering from the shocking news.

Ms Sheliza was traveling with her Dutch husband and three children aged eight, 12 and 15 from Amsterdam to Melbourne. They were supposed to make a transit in Kuala Lumpur.

"I got the news at 12.30am when my friend called up and we watched the news on CNN," said a distraught Ms Dina. "We called my daughter's brother-in-law (in Amsterdam) and he confirmed that he sent them to the airport."

She added: "I don't know anything that is why we came and check."

The Malaysian national carrier has issued two statements on the incident to date, and confirmed in its latest press release that MH17 "did not make a distress call" before it crashed.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, in a separate statement, vowed to get to the bottom of the matter and promised swift justice against the alleged culprits who shot down the plane.

He noted: "We must - and we will - find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone can be left unturned.

"If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice."