"Our world ended": The Maslin family talk about losing their three young children on MH17.

CONTENT WARNING: This post may be triggering for some readers. Please contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 if you’re struggling with symptoms of mental illness.

Five years ago, Anthony Maslin and Marite ‘Rin’ Norris faced a loss that the word “unbearable” doesn’t even begin to describe.

When their three children Mo, Otis and Evie were killed in the MH17 disaster while on their way home to Perth with their grandfather Nick Norris, who also died in the tragedy, it was the end of the world as they knew it.

The Maslin Family. Image: ABC.

Their children had fallen from the sky along with 298 passengers and crew members in the plane shot down over Ukraine.


Anthony - who was with his wife Rin in Amsterdam at the time - says it took every strength not to end their own lives, too.

"I just wanted to die and she wanted to die," Anthony said tonight on Australian Story.

"We took it in turns at saying, "I'm gonna jump," he said, recalling standing by the open window of their Amsterdam apartment.

The faces of 12-year-old Mo, 10-year-old Otis and 8-year-old Evie Maslin were splashed across newspapers following the Ukraine attack - a picture of the innocence lost.

And the night that stripped their innocence from the earth will be forever etched in Anthony and Rin's memories.

"I woke up in the middle of the night, and I went downstairs and my phone was ringing," Anthony recalls.

"It was my assistant, Jody, and Jody was saying,  'tell me your kids weren't on that plane'. I looked it up and I saw their booking was MH17."

For Rin, disbelief washed over her.

"I didn't...believe it. I didn't believe it for a long time," she says.

Watch the preview for the Maslin family on Australian Story.


The couple - who are now parents to three-year-old Violet - want people to know that this intense, unimaginable grief can be somewhat overcome.

They want us to know there is life after the end of the world. A life that looks very different, but a life nonetheless.

“Tragedy can be a source of strength. Tragedy can teach you things that you never wanted to learn," says Rin.

"Where we were was hell. Where we are now is a different place and what we feel we owe to the Australian public is to let you know how we got to where we are now."

The couple were part of a strong and supportive community in Perth’s Scarborough district and a group of friends surrounded them, bringing in meals and making sure that they weren’t left alone.

Anthony ‘Maz’ Maslin and his wife Marite ‘Rin’ Norris. Image: ABC.



But looking after themselves was part of the process.

"It was a huge adjustment, being told, the only person you have to look after now is you... That was really very strange for me," Anthony said.

They shared how it took management self-awareness for the days to get easier, supporting each other and taking one step at a time:

"We found that we had post-traumatic stress disorder and to manage that we organised our life really carefully and made sure that we stuck to our routines. We exercise. We go for walks outside. We sleep eight hours a night... It's a matter of getting that balance right in a whole range of different things."

The key, they say is "being focused on the now".

"We try to stay present and have small goals throughout the day... If we were having particularly bad days, we just said, 'Let's just go back to basics' because all we need to do is just get through to the end of the day."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please seek professional help and contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If someone is in immediate danger, call 000 immediately.