Debris of the Boeing 777, Malaysia Arilines flight MH17, which crashed during flying over the eastern Ukraine region near Donetsk. Photo: The Independent
An Australian family has tragically been hit by both Malaysia Airlines tragedies, having now lost four members through flight MH370's disappearance and flight MH17 being shot 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, reports UK-based daily The Independent.
The couple were travelling home from a holiday in Europe when the plane was shot down, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, 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.