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Australian family's double Malaysia Airlines tragedy - relatives lost on MH370 and killed on MH17

BY CHRISTOPHER HOOTON

An Australian family has been hit by both Malaysia Airlines tragedies, having now lost four members in flight MH370's disappearance and flight MH17's shooting down over Ukraine.

Irene and George Burrows, from Bileola, Queensland, were still mourning their son Rodney and his wife Mary after their plane vanished without a trace over the southern Indian Ocean in March, and will now have to grieve for their step-granddaughter Maree Rizk and her husband Albert who were aboard MH17.

The couple were travelling home from a holiday in Europe when the plane was shot down, with all 298 people on board perishing in the tragedy.

A recording of conversations between a man identified by Ukrainian media as a Russian military commander and a rebel fighter has emerged this morning, in which they are reportedly heard discussing the downing of a jet over eastern Ukraine shortly after MH17 fell in between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the neighbouring region of Donetsk.

In one of the calls a man going by the name Bezler can be heard saying: “Just now a plane was hit and destroyed by the miners group.”

In a post on Russian social media site Vkontake, Igor Girkin, also known by the nom de guerre Strelkov, the commander of the pro-Russian Donbass People's Militia, is reported to have claimed that his forces shot down a plane in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine at 5.50pm (GMT+4), shortly before reports emerged the passenger jet was missing.

According to a translation obtained by The Independent, he allegedly wrote: “We warned [sic] not to fly in our sky.”

Kiev has branded the event an "act of terrorism" and demanded a UN investigation, while Russian president Vladimir Putin has insisted it would not have happened if the Ukrainian government had agreed to a ceasefire.

Nine Britons died in the crash, along with 54 Dutch passengers, 45 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one Canadian.

Further reading:

Malaysia Airlines crash: Scottish family turned away from flight MH17 speak of their incredible escape 

Malaysia Airline crash: Nine Britons on board plane shot down over Ukraine 

Malaysia Airlines crash: Russian military commander and rebel fighters 'heard discussing' MH17 plane in 'audio recording' released by Ukraine Security Service 

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 Ukraine crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 US citizens and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet 'shot down' 

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 Ukraine crash: Why was a passenger plane flying over a conflict zone? 

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