Friday, July 18, 2014

Tragic as One Canadian is Confirmed Dead in Flight MH17 Crash in Ukraine

One Canadian is among the 298 people confirmed dead after a passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Malaysia Airline officials said Thursday afternoon.

The plane, which was carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members, was en route to Kuala Lumpur via Amsterdam when it was shot down. It was due to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport early Friday morning. The plane went down approximately 500 kilometres from Kyiv.

The death toll was increased after Malaysia Airlines said the original list did not include three infants.

At a news conference, airline officials gave a breakdown of the nationalities of the passengers and crew:
  • Canada: 1
  • Netherlands: 154
  •  Malaysia: 38 (including 15 crewmembers)
  •  Australia: 27
  • Indonesia: 11
  • United Kingdom: 6
  •  Germany: 4
  •  Belgium: 4
  •  Philippines: 3
  •  Unconfirmed: 47
There are reports that French and American nationals were also onboard.

A spokesperson for Canada’s minister of state said while the government is aware at least one Canadian who is among the deceased, friends and relatives in Canada with information on other Canadian citizens known to be on board the downed flight should contact the foreign affairs department’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 1-800-387-3124, or by sending an email to

In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was “shocked and saddened” to learn that a passenger jet had been shot down, killing all on board.

“We understand from reports that a Canadian citizen is among the dead,” Harper said. “On behalf of the Government of Canada, Laureen and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the victims of this outrageous act.”

Harper also said Canada “stands ready” to provide support to assist authorities in determining the cause of the plane crash.

“While we do not yet know who is responsible for this attack, we continue to condemn Russia’s military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine, which is at the root of the ongoing conflict in the region.”

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said several passengers were travelling to Melbourne to attend an international AIDS conference in Australia. The plane was scheduled to continue flying to the Australian city of Perth after a stop in Kuala Lumpur.

In a statement, the International AIDS Society expressed “sincere sadness” that a number of their colleagues and friends were on the plane.

“At this incredibly sad and sensitive time, the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy,” the statement said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak earlier said the families of the dead are being notified, and that his thoughts and prayers are with them.

“I cannot imagine what they must be going through at this painful time,” Razak said. “The flight’s passengers and crew came from many different countries but today, regardless of nationality, we are all united in grief.”

Malaysia also announced that it was sending a team to Kyiv to investigate the crash.


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