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Aussie Kaylene Mann copes with deaths from dual Malaysia Airlines tragedies

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Kaylene Mann, a native of Australia, has lost two relatives on board two different Malaysia Airlines flights. Rod Burrows, Mann’s brother, was onboard MH370 when it mysteriously vanished over the Indian Ocean in March. Maree Rizk, her stepdaughter, was one of the 295 people on board MH17, which was shot down by a surface-to-air missile on Thursday. In an obvious state of grievance, yesterday’s tragedy “brought everyone, everything back,” reopening a wound for the Queensland resident.

Much like the nearly 300 other passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17, Mann’s stepdaughter had her own unique story. Rizk was returning to Australia from a four-week European vacation with her husband, Albert. In spite of losing two loved ones in two different flights of the same airline, Mann and her family aren’t holding any grudges against Malaysia Airlines.

"Nobody could predict they were going to get shot down. That was out of their hands," Greg Burrows, Mann’s brother, said on Friday.

The Rizk family was heavily involved with the Sunbury Football Club. Albert sat on the club’s committee, Maree volunteered distributing water during game as a “canteen” while their son James was a player. The team will wear black armbands during their match on Saturday as well as observe a moment of silence before kickoff.

Most of the passengers aboard Flight 17 were Dutch citizens, 189 in all. A total of 80 children were also onboard the Boeing 777 that was shot down on Thursday. As many as 100 of the world’s top researchers of AIDS and HIV were also on the flight, with their final destination being Melbourne for the AIDS 2014 conference on Sunday. The sorrow over the loss of life is immeasurable, every death is no more or less sad than the next. Bodies are still being recovered from the wreckage outside of Torez, Ukraine, as there are no expectations of having a single survivor.

Mourners are gathering outside Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, where MH17 took off early Thursday morning for Kuala Lumpur. It is still unknown who is responsible for shooting down the passenger plane, though Ukraine, Russia and pro-Russian separatists are all pointing fingers at one another.

The loss of her brother in March and stepdaughter yesterday may very well cause Mann to never fly again, let alone on Malaysia Airlines. Both occurrences of the missing and shot-down plane are very rare; air travel is considered as the safest mode of transportation. As she was about to start getting over the loss of her brother, she now must cope with the loss of her stepdaughter; words cannot describe how Kaylene Mann must be feeling.

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