The daughters of MH17 victim: "She'll never see us get married or have kids."


Chelsea and Cassie Derden


Australians are still reeling after Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine over a week ago. Two hundred and ninety eight people were on board. Thirty seven of them were Australians.

For the victims families, the anguish is relentless.

As the Maslin family said in their statement following the death of their three children on board flight MH17: “We live in a hell beyond hell”.

And now, in an interview to air on 60 Minutes tonight, another devastated Australian family has spoken out.
Canberra sisters Chelsea and Cassie Derden were looking forward to welcoming their 50-year-old mother Liliane home last week. Instead, they received the crushing call that their mum was on board the downed plane.

As the sisters now reveal, it’s the indignity with which their mother’s body – and all the bodies on board the plane- have been treated at the crash site that continues to play on their minds.

Their worries stem from news bulletins and images from the Eastern Ukrainian crash site, all emphasising the one shocking truth. The site has not yet been properly secured by officials- it’s still squarely in the control of separatists.

The Derden sisters have called this mismanagement of the crash site “completely inhumane”. 
“I’m disgusted, absolutely disgusted at the way that people have treated this and treated these people like they’re nothing, like they’re a bit of meat or like a trophy,” Cassie Derden said.

Startlingly, even now, two weeks on from the tragedy occurring, the crash site remains unsecured. Though victims bodies are slowly being returned home, other unrecovered bodies continue to openly decompose. The victims possessions, what has not been removed or stolen, are scattered everywhere. 

“That’s I think what was playing with my head a little bit as well, um just the fact that the poor people, you know, in that heat, just you know treated like nothing and laying there, just disturbs me,” Chelsea Derden said. 

Chelsea and her sister were equally distressed when reminded of reports from Kiev that victims’ possessions were being actively looted from the crash site.


“Mum also didn’t have a lot of possessions as well.  Like the jewellery that she has she would be wearing.  So like we come home and we try to mourn by going through her things, and there isn’t much.  So the fact that people could be going and taking you know her only pieces of jewellery, which we would love to have…is devastating,” Chelsea Derden said. 

Tonight’s 60 Minutes report also marks the final interview given by Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk before his resignation from politics two days ago.

Yatsenyuk was asked how he felt knowing that Australian families, including the Derden’s, have been completely uprooted by this tragedy.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

“You know, I cannot even estimate this, because I can’t even imagine how people, how families can cope with this.  To lost their beloved, to lost their children, this is the price of human being, this is the price of every person that your country and your nation lost, that my country is constantly losing.

“They’re [Russians] killing my soldiers, my people, my fellow Ukrainians, and they killed your fellow Australians.

“This is the truth, and I want the world to know the truth.

“This is the crime against humanity.  This is an international crime. And we need to bring these bastards to the International Criminal Court,” he said.

Since filming, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sent 230 Australian Federal Police and Australian Defence Force personnel to the Netherlands, to participate in a Dutch-led operation to secure the crash site. The humanitarian mission is, in Mr Abbott’s words, part of the government’s plans to “claim our dead, and to bring them home.”

You can view the full report on the families of MH17 on 60 Minutes at 9pm tonight. 

Our thoughts are with all the Australian MH17 victims, their families and loved ones at this time.