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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: British family missed the doomed flight due to lack of seats

Two other passenger flights were passing close to MH17 at the moment it was reportedly shot down

Travellers who almost boarded Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 have spoken of their relief at narrowly avoiding the disaster.

Scottish couple Barry and Izzy Sim, who were travelling with their baby son, tried to board the plane at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport but were told there were not enough seats.

After hearing of the crash, Mr Sim told the BBC: “You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. We started getting butterflies. Your heartbeat starts going.” His wife added: “There must have been someone watching over us and saying ‘You must not get on that flight’.”

The couple decided to continue their journey to Malaysia on KLM. “In my mind, lightning never strikes twice in the same place so I am still philosophical that you get on the flight and you go about your life,” Mr Sim said.

Simone La Posta and Juan Jovel, a honeymooning couple from Adelaide, Australia, changed their schedule at the last minute. “We originally had our itinerary to be on that flight [MH17], but then we changed it thinking we’d be too jet-lagged for work on Monday,” Ms La Posta told ABC Radio.


“Then there was another chance we could’ve been on that flight. When we got to Schiphol Airport on Wednesday to check in they’d overbooked that flight – so we were on standby and we only found out literally a minute before the boarding closed that we were actually going to be leaving that day.”

New Zealander Mike Bullot was due to fly on the same route the day before the tragedy, but upon arriving at the airport was told that his flight had been overbooked and that he might have to wait for 24 hours.

In a Facebook post, he wrote: “It’s a good day to be alive. Standing at gate with some 20-30 other people hoping for a seat and boarding pass. I get mine a few minutes before the gate closes. Too many what-ifs to think about right now. Wondering how many of those behind me in line were pushed back a day...”

It has also emerged that two other passenger flights were passing close to MH17 at the moment it was reportedly shot down. Singapore Airlines SQ351 and Air India AI113 were both around 15 miles away, a distance covered in just 90 seconds in the air.

The Air India flight had departed from Delhi for Birmingham on Thursday morning and arrived at 6pm, while the Singapore Airlines flight was flying in the opposite direction from Copenhagen to Singapore.