Five years ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was shot down from the sky by a Russian surface-to-air missile while flying over eastern Ukraine.
Contact with the Boeing 777-200ER, travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was lost as it was about 50 kilometres from the Ukraine-Russian border. It’s wreckage was found near the small village of Hrabove in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast, 40 kilometres from Russia.
Everyone on board the plane died: There were 283 passengers and 15 crew, totalling 298 people.
Among those were at least 20 family groups and 80 passengers under the age of 18.
As well as 38 Australian citizens and permanent residents, there was one New Zealander, 193 Dutch, 43 Malaysians and 12 Indonesians aboard MH17, plus 10 British passengers. Other passengers were from Germany, Belgium, the Philippines and Canada.
And behind those large and shocking statistics are people. Real people, families and children.
On that MH17 flight, the cabin crew were known as the “flying mothers” by their Malaysia Airlines colleagues due to the route being popular with working parents.
It’s believed the crew would have been collecting meal trays from passengers after dinner when the aircraft was hit by a missile. The 11 female crew on the flight had 14 children, aged between two and 26 at the time, between them. For five years, those 14 children have been without their mothers.
There was Nick Norris, the 68-year-old grandfather who was travelling home to Australia from Europe with his three grandchildren: 12-year-old Mo, 10-year-old Evie, and 8-year-old Otis Maslin, leaving behind their parents Anthony and Rin Maslin who were staying on in Amsterdam for an extended holiday.
In June, Anthony and Rin recalled the night they were woken up by a phone call to learn what had happened.