A British couple practically got on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine on July 17.
The family had been planning to fly on the flight but they discovered at the airport of Amsterdam that there weren’t enough seats on board so they switched to a later KLM flight.
9 British passengers were among the 298 on board of the crashed jet, Malaysia Airlines confirmed in its most recent update. The death toll includes 154 Dutch, 42 Malaysian, 27 Australian, and 12 Indonesian persons and representatives of other nationalities.
“You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach […] We started getting butterflies. Your heartbeat starts going,” Sim revealed to reporters, recalling his response to hearing that the flight there were supposed on went down over Ukraine.
No survivors have been identified as the plane broke up mid-air and pieces were strewn over a span of miles in eastern Ukraine near the border with Russia.
“There must have been someone watching over us and saying ‘you must not get on that flight,’” added Izzy.
“We are very loyal to Malaysia Airlines and we always want to fly with Malaysia Airlines.” She went on, adding that her husband usually disliked flying with KLM. “But do you know what, at this moment we are so glad to be on that KLM flight rather than that Malaysia Airlines flight.”
“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,” added Barry. “I know my wife doesn’t feel like that. Probably the last thing she wants to do now is fly, especially to Kuala Lumpur.”
Meanwhile, devastated and sobbing relatives are heading to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport as the nation reeled from the news 154 of its citizens were aboard the crashed Malaysian plane.
Red, white and blue Dutch flags were lowered to half-mast inside the country and at embassies around the world.
“I am deeply saddened by this horrible news,” King Willem-Alexander said in a statement. “Our thoughts go to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims, and to those who do not know yet if one of their loved ones was on board the plane.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was “deeply shocked” by the catastrophe, while Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten added that “the images I saw were terrible.”
Many were stunned by the news their family and friends died after crash of a Malasian Airlaines jet which went down just four months after a flight from the same carrier disappeared over the Indian Ocean with 239 people on board.
“This can’t be true!” exclaimed Alicia de Boer in a Facebook comment as it emerged her friend Cor Pan, who was on board.
In a chilling post just before he boarded the flight, Pan posted an image of the doomed flight with the comment: “If it should disappear, this is what it looks like.”
Cor Pan, who appeared to be going on a beach holiday to Malaysia, posted the photo as a joking reference to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
“The crash resulted in the second biggest loss of Dutch lives in an airplane disaster, after a horrific 1977 crash of two Boeing 747 jumbo jets on the Canary Island of Tenerife that killed 238 Dutch nationals,” Economic Times says.