MH370 and MH17: three tragic twists of fate and a lucky escape

Jul 21, 2014

One woman loses family members in both disasters while a Dutch man narrowly avoids both flights

Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty

The families of flight MH370 victims were struck by disbelief when another Malaysia Airlines aircraft was downed in Ukraine last week – but for some the crash marked a double tragedy. MH17 is believed to have been shot down in rebel-held eastern Ukraine on Thursday on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board. It came just four months after MH370 disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Several tragic twists of fate have emerged since the second plane crashed...

The couple who both swapped shifts

One flight attendant had a lucky escape when she switched shifts in March, and avoided working on flight MH370 that subsequently disappeared. But four months later, her husband Sanjid Singh, also a flight attendant, swapped his shifts around and ended up on the doomed MH17. Jijar Singh, the steward's father, told the Malaysian Insider last week: "Sanjid's wife was meant to fly on MH370 but swapped with another colleague at the last minute... [Sanjid] told us recently that he swapped with a colleague for the return Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight. He was supposed to come here at noon after he returns from Amsterdam this morning. His mother had prepared all his favourite dishes."

Australian woman loses brother and stepdaughter

In what the Daily Telegraph calls an "almost incomprehensible twist of fate", an Australian woman lost family members in both Malaysia Airlines disasters. Kaylene Mann's brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on board flight MH370 when it vanished in March. Then on Friday she discovered that her step-daughter Maree Rizk was among the 298 passengers to die on flight MH17. Maree and her husband Albert were returning home from a four-week holiday in Europe. Mann's surviving brother Greg Burrows told reporters: "It's just ripped our guts again."

Flight attendant loses husband and friends

A Malaysia woman, Intan Maizura Othman, has spoken of her devastation at losing first her husband on flight MH370 and now her friends onboard MH17. Intan was pregnant when her husband, flight attendant Muhammad Hazrin, disappeared on flight MH370 and has since given birth to a little boy, who she named Muhammad. She is now mourning the loss of her friends on MH17, who were colleagues of her late husband. "When I saw the aircraft wreckage on television, I was hoping that it would be MH370," she told the Malaysian Insider. "This is so sad. It is a huge test for all of us, the families of the MH370 and the MH17 crew."

Lucky escape for Dutch cyclist

One Dutch man skirted death on both of the flights after booking tickets for MH370 and MH17 but changing his plans at the last minute. Maarten De Jonge, a cyclist who rides with Malaysia's Terengganu Cycling Team, switched from MH370 in March to avoid a lengthy stopover and then from MH17 last week to take a later flight and save money. "It's inconceivable," he told Dutch public broadcaster RTV Oost. "I am very sorry for the passengers and their families, yet I am very pleased I'm unharmed."

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