Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

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

This image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, shows a suitcase found in the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT
This image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, shows a suitcase found in the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Channel 1)
A floral tribute and photograph of Indonesian man Wayan Sujana of Bali, believed to be missing on Air Malaysia flight MH17, is fixed to the ticketing desk of Air Malaysia at Schiphol Airport on July 18, 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Boeing 777 was carrying 298 people including crew members, the majority of the passengers being Dutch nationals, believed to be at least 173, 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 9 Britons. It has been speculated that the passenger aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile by warring factions in the region. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Ukrainian coal miners search the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A watch and a part of bracelet lie on a plastic cover at the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
This image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, shows a guidebook found in the wreckage of a passenger plane after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Channel 1)
Flowers and football shirts around the Sir Bobby Robson statue outside Newcastle United football ground after two fans died on board flight MH17 which was shot down over the Ukraine. Tom White/PA Wire

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? 

A pro-Russian fighter holds up a toy found among the debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, Friday, July 18, 2014. Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines jet shot down as it flew high above the country's battlefield. The attack Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

A pro-Russian fighter holds up a toy found among the debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, Friday, July 18, 2014. Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines jet shot down as it flew high above the country's battlefield. The attack Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

In this October 2008 photo provided by AMC Amsterdam on Friday, July 18, 2014, former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange is seen. A large number of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board a Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said Friday, as news of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community.  Among them was Joep Lange, a well-known researcher from the Netherlands (AP Photo/Peter Lowie/AMC)

In this October 2008 photo provided by AMC Amsterdam on Friday, July 18, 2014, former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange is seen. A large number of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board a Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said Friday, as news of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community. Among them was Joep Lange, a well-known researcher from the Netherlands (AP Photo/Peter Lowie/AMC)

In this undated photo provided by Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll on Saturday, July 19, 2014, Karlijn Keijzer, left, a 25-year-old Dutch graduate student at Indiana University, and her boyfriend Laurens van der Graaff, right, are seen. Keijzer and van der Graaff were among those killed when a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was carrying 298 people from 13 nations when it was shot down Thursday in eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border, an area that has seen months of clashes between government troops and pro-Russia separatists. (AP Photo/Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll)

In this undated photo provided by Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll on Saturday, July 19, 2014, Karlijn Keijzer, left, a 25-year-old Dutch graduate student at Indiana University, and her boyfriend Laurens van der Graaff, right, are seen. Keijzer and van der Graaff were among those killed when a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was carrying 298 people from 13 nations when it was shot down Thursday in eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border, an area that has seen months of clashes between government troops and pro-Russia separatists. (AP Photo/Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll)

Alexander Hug, deputy head of the OSCE mission, looks at debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 18, 2014. Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and four Ukrainian experts had traveled into rebel-controlled areas to begin an investigation into the attack that killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations.  The militia allowed them to look at part of the crash site, but refused to let them view the area where the engines came down. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Alexander Hug, deputy head of the OSCE mission, looks at debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 18, 2014. Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and four Ukrainian experts had traveled into rebel-controlled areas to begin an investigation into the attack that killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. The militia allowed them to look at part of the crash site, but refused to let them view the area where the engines came down. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Widi Yuwono, the brother of Yuli Hastini, rear, holds a photograph of his sister's family, showing Hastini, right, her Dutch husband John Paulissen, left, and their two children, Arjun and Sri, who were on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Friday, July 18, 2014, at his residence in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia. The Malaysian jetliner that went down in war-torn Ukraine did not make any distress call, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body. (AP Photo)

Widi Yuwono, the brother of Yuli Hastini, rear, holds a photograph of his sister's family, showing Hastini, right, her Dutch husband John Paulissen, left, and their two children, Arjun and Sri, who were on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Friday, July 18, 2014, at his residence in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia. The Malaysian jetliner that went down in war-torn Ukraine did not make any distress call, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body. (AP Photo)

FILE - This Wednesday, June 30, 2010, file photo shows the Buk M2 missile system at a military show at the international forum "Technologies in machine building 2010" in Zhukovsky, Russia, outside Moscow. There are several models of Buk Missile Systems used by multiple countries, including both the Russian and Ukrainian government military. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said Thursday, July 17, 2014, on his Facebook page that a Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).  (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)

FILE - This Wednesday, June 30, 2010, file photo shows the Buk M2 missile system at a military show at the international forum "Technologies in machine building 2010" in Zhukovsky, Russia, outside Moscow. There are several models of Buk Missile Systems used by multiple countries, including both the Russian and Ukrainian government military. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said Thursday, July 17, 2014, on his Facebook page that a Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet). (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)

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