According to USA Today, oddly, Thursday's crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shares a date with another major airline disaster, the crash of TWA Flight 800 over Long Island on July 17, 1996. There are other connections about the Boeing 777 crash that was carrying 298 people including 15 crew members, 3 infants, 2 dogs and 9 packages of birds.
This recent airplane crash was the second devastating blow for Malaysia Airlines this year, following the mysterious disappearance of Flight MH370 on March 8, which vanished with 239 passengers and crew on board on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Some people lost relatives on both flights.
The New York Daily News reports that people came from 11 countries, and the Netherlands suffered the greatest loss with 189 passengers, followed by 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 9 Britons, 4 Belgians, 4 Germans, 4 unverified, 3 Filipinos, 1 Canadian and 1 New Zealander.
Two families of six also killed in the crash, according to local reports. Ariza Ghazalee, 46, her husband Tambi Jiee, 49, and their four children were returning home to Malaysia after spending three years abroad. The ages of the children were 19, 19, 15 and 13.
Another family of six, Jeroen and Nicole Wals and their four children Amel, Jinte, Brett and Solenn, were also killed while flying together from their home in the Netherlands, local Dutch media reported. About an hour into the flight to Malaysia, 15-year-old Jinte enthusiastically shared in what would be her last tweet.
Among Australia's 27 known victims was Australian businessman, Nick Norris with his three grandchildren: 12-year-old Mo, 10-year-old Evie, and 8-year-old Otis Maslin.
Indiana University announced that one of its chemistry doctoral students, 25-year-old Karlijn Keijzer, was among the dead. Dutch-American student, Quinn Lucas Schansman, who had dual citizenship, was among those killed on the plane. The 19-year-old was reportedly headed for a family vacation in Malaysia.
Michael and Carol Clancy were returning home from a three-week trip to Europe to celebrate Michael's retirement. Eerily, the couple's youngest son, Afriz, had posted an illustration of the missing MH370 airliner as his Facebook profile's background on June 19. The cartoon drawing of the passenger plane that vanished over the Indian Ocean in March features hands, of all colors, reaching high into the air. Over the hands it reads: "Please come back."
One of the flight attendants, Sanjid Singh Sandu, 41, was not supposed to be on the flight, but reportedly switched shifts with a colleague. Incredibly Singh's wife, who's also a flight stewardess, was scheduled to be on the doomed MH370 flight but swapped out, saving her life from that flight, but now losing her husband in this recent crash.
Richard Mayne, 20, from Leicester, England was one of at least nine victims from the United Kingdom. He was flying to Australia for a year-old work placement program. Sister Philomene Tiernan, a 77-year-old nun from a Catholic school in Sydney, was returning home after attending a conference in Britain, a theology course in Ireland and a spiritual retreat in Burgundy, France.
Kaylene Mann's brother and sister-in-law were on MH370 that vanished in March, and her stepdaughter and the stepdaughter's husband were on MH17. One Dutch passenger, Cor Pan, snapped a Facebook photo of the plane on the runway right before takeoff. His post read, “Should it disappear, this is what it looks like.” Of course, this was a reference to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which disappeared earlier this year. Pan’s post has been shared more than 22,000 times.