Malaysia Airlines crash: Family who lost two members on flight MH370 have lost two more on MH17
Brother and stepdaughter died in separate Malaysia Airlines disasters
An Australian family has been hit by both Malaysia Airlines tragedies, having now lost four members in flight MH370's disappearance and flight MH17's shooting down over Ukraine.
Kaylene Mann's brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on board Flight 370 when it vanished in March.
And on Friday, Mann found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed along with 298 others on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Rizk and her husband Albert were travelling home from a holiday in Europe when the plane was shot down.
"It's just brought everyone, everything back," said Greg Burrows, brother to Kaylene and Rodney. "It's just ... ripped our guts again."
He said his family was struggling to understand how they could be struck by such horrible luck on two separate occasions with the same airline.
"She just lost a brother and now a stepdaughter, so..." he said of his sister, his voice trailing off.
Rizk and her husband Albert, of Melbourne, were returning home from a four-week holiday in Europe, said Phil Lithgow, president of the Sunbury Football Club, with which the family was heavily involved. Albert, a real estate agent, was a member of the club's committee, Maree was a volunteer in the canteen and their son, James, plays on the club's team.
Video: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash
"They were very lovely people," Lithgow said. "You wouldn't hear a bad word about them - very generous with their time in the community, very community-minded, and just really very entertaining people to be with."
A recording of conversations between a man identified by Ukrainian media as a Russian military commander and a rebel fighter has emerged this morning, in which they are reportedly heard discussing the downing of a jet over eastern Ukraine shortly after MH17 fell in between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the neighbouring region of Donetsk.
In one of the calls a man going by the name Bezler can be heard saying: "Just now a plane was hit and destroyed by the miners group."
In a post on Russian social media site Vkontake, Igor Girkin, also known by the nom de guerre Strelkov, the commander of the pro-Russian Donbass People's Militia, is reported to have claimed that his forces shot down a plane in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine at 5.50pm (GMT+4), shortly before reports emerged the passenger jet was missing.
According to a translation obtained by The Independent, he allegedly wrote: "We warned [sic] not to fly in our sky."
Kiev has branded the event an "act of terrorism" and demanded a UN investigation, while Russian president Vladimir Putin has insisted it would not have happened if the Ukrainian government had agreed to a ceasefire.
Nine Britons died in the crash, along with 54 Dutch passengers, 45 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one Canadian.
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