Some of the passengers onboard flight MH17

More than half of the passengers - 154 - onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 were from the Netherlands. Dozens, such as pioneering HIV researcher Joep Lange, were on their way to attend the International Aids Conference starting this weekend in Melbourne, Australia.

There were also several couples and families, many of whom were happy to be returning home for Hari Raya, or just eager to get back to Australia to see their loved ones after a holiday in Europe.

Sadly, they never arrived at their destinations.

Here's a look at some of the passengers and crew:

Joep Lange, 60, and Jacqueline van Tongeren

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The world-renowned HIV researcher and former president of the International Aids Society Joep Lange was on the way to the International Aids Conference that begins this weekend in Melbourne, Australia.

The professor of medicine and head of department of global health at the University of Amsterdam had been involved in HIV treatment and research since 1983, the early days of the Aids epidemic.

According to the Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development, the Prof Lange was one of the key researchers behind several pivotal anti-retroviral therapy trials. Some of projects he led involved the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

In 2007, he received the Eijkman medal for his achievements in Tropical Medicine and International Health.

Professor Lange was also the president of the International Aids Society from 2002 to 2004.

The Dutch citizen was travelling with his partner, ArtAids board member Jacqueline van Tongeren. He leaves behind five daughters, to which he was "an amazing father", tweeted Dr Seema Yasmin from the US.

Glenn Raymond Thomas

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Mr Glenn Raymond Thomas was the Geneva-based spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO). He joined WHO after a stint with the BBC, and was passionate about public health issues.

He was headed to Melbourne for the International Aids Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Sanjid Singh Sandu, 41

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Flight steward Sanjid Singh Sandu, 41, was not supposed to have been on the plane.

According to his father, Mr Jijar Singh, 71, he had switched his shift with a colleague.

Mr Jijar and his wife received the news from their daughter-in-law, who is also a flight stewardess at Malaysia Airlines, at 4am on Friday.

Ironically, Mr Sanjid's wife, who was rostered to be on MH370 which went missing in March, escaped death because she switched duty with a colleague, reported the Malaysian Insider.

Mr Jijar said he was eager to see his youngest child and only son who was last home in Penang in June. "He always called us before he leaves for his trip... Sanjid's wife was meant to fly on MH370 but swopped with another colleague at the last minute."

He added: "He last came home last month. My son spoke to me over the phone just before his flight. I didn't know that would be my last conversation with him."

Pim de Kuijer, 32


The Aids activist from the Netherlands for Stop Aids Now! was previously an intern for the former Members of the European Parliament Lousewies van der Laan and Emine Bozkurt.

On the way to International Aids Conference in Melbourne, Australia, Mr de Kuijer was also involved in the liberal political party, D66.

According to a friend who paid him a tribute in The Guardian, Mr de Kuijer had returned to the Netherlands after a long period of soul-searching, adventure and travels, and was hoping to publish a little memoir of 66 pages detailing his experiences in the countries he had visited, including Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Malaysia.

Martine de Schutter

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Ms Martine de Schutter worked for organisations associated with the Aids Fonds Foundation, and was most recently managing a programme, Bridging The Gap, which provides support for sex workers, LGBT and drug users.

Previously, she had worked for 10 years as executive coordinator of Aids Action Europe, and was involved with initiatives including the EU HIV/Aids Civil Society Forum and the HIV/Aids Clearinghouse, according to BuzzFeed. Ms de Schutter was also successful in her lobby to have key populations included in the current EU HIV policy.

Albert and Marie Rizk


Mr Albert Rizk (left), his son, James, and his wife, Marie.

Mr Rizk and his wife Marie had been in Europe for a vacation for one month, and were on the way home to Sunbury, Victoria, Australia. They had been travelling with two friends who took an earlier flight, which the Rizks missed.

Mr Rizk, a real estate agent, was a director of Raine & Horne, a sponsor of the AFL club as well as an enthusiastic community worker, while his wife worked in the club canteen.

The Australian couple have two children.

Cor Pan and Neeltje Tol

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Dutch Cor Pan and his girlfriend Neeltje Tol, were onboard MH17, heading to Kuala Lumpur for a holiday.

In a moment of black humour, Mr Pan snapped a picture of the Boeing 777-200 that he and Ms Tol were about to board.

Making a reference to the disappearance of Flight MH370 in March this year, Mr Pan posted the picture on his Facebook page with the message: "If the plane disappears, this is what it looks like."


Malaysian Muslim Rahimah was flying back to Hari Raya, with her sister.

Ms Rahimah, who had lived in Geneva for three decades, was returning to her home country for the first time in five years.

Tambi Jiee, 49; Ariza Ghazalee, 47; Mohd Afif, 19; Mohd Afzal, 17; Marsha Azmeena, 15; and Mohd Afruz, 13

The family of six from Kuching were returning from Kazakhstan, transiting via Amsterdam, where Mr Tambi, had been working for Shell for about three years.

They were on their way back to Malaysia for good.

Nick Norris and his grandchildren, 8, 10 and 12 years

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Mr Nick Norris, managing director of a change management consultancy company in Perth, was in Europe on a holiday with his family.

Mr Norris's son, Brack, 24, said his father had been accompanying the children; Mo, Evie, and Otis Maslin aged 12, 10 and 8 respectively, home.

Their parents had remained in Amsterdam for a few more days but Mr Norris was bringing the children home to return to school, reported ABC News.

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Brack Norris described the situation as "surreal" when a sister called from Sydney to break the news to him. "I couldn't believe it," he was quoted

in the report as saying. "I thought it was just ridiculous but yes, it's clearly not."

Elaine Teoh, 27, and Emiel Mahler, 27

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Former University of Melbourne student Elaine Teoh and her boyfriend, Dutch national Emiel Mahler, were headed to Kuala Lumpur for a wedding.

Prior to the flight, both were in the Netherlands.

Ms Teoh, from Penang, and Mr Mahler lived in Melbourne where they worked in the finance industry.

Lucie van Mens

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Dr Lucie van Mens was an HIV researcher who had focused on HIV and Aids prevention since 1995.

Dr van Mens was on her way to the International Aids Conference in Melbourne, Australia

Philomene Tiernan

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Sister Philomene Tiernan (left) was a Catholic nun and a teacher at eastern Sydney Catholic school Kincoppal-Rose Bay. She had just completed a sabbatical in Europe, was returning to her home in Kensington, Sydney.

Siti Amirah, 83


Puan Sri Siti Amirah (right), Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's step-grandmother, had travelled to Amsterdam to holiday with her only daughter from her first marriage.

Sherliza Zaini, 45, her Dutch husband and three children aged 8, 12 and 15 years
Ms Sherliza Zaini and her family were returning from a holiday in Amsterdam. They were supposed to transit at the Kuala Lumpur International en route to their home in Melbourne, Australia.

Md Ali Md Salim, 30
Psychology PhD student Md Ali Md Salim at Erasmus University Rotterdam, was heading home to to celebrate Hari Raya with his family in Muar, Johor.

Roger and Jill Guard

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Dr Roger Guard, director of the Pathology Unit at Toowoomba Hospital, and his wife, a general practitioner, were returning home to Australia after a holiday.

Nur Shazana Mohamed Salleh, 31


A crew member, Ms Nur Shazana Mohamed Salleh, last communicated with her father, Mr Mohamed Salleh Shamsuddin, via WhatsApp about two hours before the flight departed from Amsterdam, asking for a photo of her son because she missed him.

Information and images culled from various sources including, Facebook, University of Amsterdam and Center for Health and Gender Equity

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