By BRIGID ANDERSEN
Elsemiek de Borst was 17-years-old and wanted to be an architect. Instead, on July 17, 2014, she and her younger stepbrother, her mother and stepfather, were shot out of the sky while on board Malaysia Airlines flight 17.
One year on her father Hans, who lives near the Hague in the Netherlands, speaks of his only child like she has just left the room.
“Elsemiek was about to do her exams for school. She got high figures at the gymnasium [school],” he told Lateline.
“This year she would be passing her exams and she would like to go to the Technical University in Delft – famous internationally – because we went to an open day and there she thought, now I must do technical engineering.
“I said ‘first you have to pass your exams’ and she said, ‘yeah I will do that’. She was good at maths and physics, so she had all kinds of confidence to do this, to be an architect later on. It was her dream.”
Hans de Borst remembers the day one year ago when he heard that flight MH17, carrying 298 people, had crashed.
“I arrived back from work a bit earlier to see a stage of the Tour de France that we enjoy here,” he said.
“My friend who lives two hours away called me and said look right away on the television.
“The floor was gone. I had to sit for a moment. Then I thought no … it can’t be true. There must be a few survivors and Elsemiek will be one of them.”
It quickly became clear there were no survivors and Mr de Borst said each day became more and more horrifying.
There were reports of looting at the crash site, investigators and officials were unable to access the wreckage and recover bodies because of the war raging around them between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels.