Tag Archives: Malaysia Airlines

A Briton who died on flight #MH17 has been identified


WHO official Glenn Thomas, one of ten Britons killed in crash, was travelling to Australia to attend international Aids conference.

By Martin Williams.WHO official Glenn Thomas has been formally identified as one of the Britons killed in the MH17 crash. Photograph: WHO/PAWHO official Glenn Thomas has been formally identified as one of the Britons killed in the MH17 crash. Photograph: WHO/PA

A British man who died when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine has been formally identified as Glenn Thomas, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official.

The 49-year-old, who was a former BBC journalist, had been travelling to Australia to attend the international Aids conference in Melbourne. He was one of 10 British victims killed in the tragedy.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the formal identification of another British victim of Flight MH17, Glenn Thomas.

“His family have been informed. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time. We continue to provide consular assistance to the family.”

Thomas, who lived in Geneva and worked as a media officer for WHO, leaves behind his partner, Claudio, and twin sister, Tracey. His family are making plans for his body to be returned to Blackpool, the BBC said.

His sister has paid tribute to Thomas, saying there was “no uncle or brother like him in the world”. She told the Blackpool Gazette last month: “I can’t believe it – he was the most generous, kind person who always thought about others first. Everyone that knew him knew what he was like – there’s not a bad word to say about him.”

She said: “He had never been to Australia before and he was so excited. He loved life and was doing what he does best – travelling.”

His nephew, Jordan, told the paper: “Through all his life the one thing he said to me was go to university and go travelling. The one place he hadn’t been was Australia and obviously that’s where he was going for a conference.”

Last week, hundreds of people attended the funeral of Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney, who was the first British victim of MH17 to be formally identified. The club’s manager and captain joined family and friends for the service at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle.

The International Aids Society (IAS) named Thomas last month as one of six delegates killed in the disaster. At the time of his death, WHO’s spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib, said: “We have lost a wonderful person and a great professional. Our hearts are broken. We are all in shock.”

IAS president, Franoise Barrinoussi, said at the time: “The extent of our loss is hard to comprehend or express. We grieve alongside all of those throughout the world who have lost friends and family in this senseless tragedy.”

Others attending the conference who were killed include delegates from Aids Action Europe, Stop Aids Now!, HIV Netherlands Australia Research Collaboration and the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development.

Tensions between the west and Russia have flared following the downing of the Boeing 777, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed on 17 July.

Fighting has engulfed Ukraine’s separatist east and its government has repeatedly accused Russia of stirring up trouble within its borders.

In the latest development, Ukraine security services has released a video of 10 Russian paratroopers it claimed were captured while fighting alongside pro-Moscow rebels in the east of the country.

However, Russia has always denied supporting and arming rebels in the region.


The Guardian.

#Malaysia #Airlines Flight #MH370 search faces tough next phase.


by South Asia Desk.
The hunt for flight MH370 continuesThe view from Fugro Equator: The ship has had to contend with some terrible weather.

The next phase of the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370 will be very challenging in places.

Detailed information being gathered about the shape of the ocean floor west of Australia confirms the seabed in some locations to be extremely rugged.

Two vessels – the Fugro Equator and the Zhu Kezhen – are currently mapping an area covering 60,000 sq km.

This survey will guide a metre-by-metre search using towed instruments and submersibles.

This is likely to get under way towards the end of September.

The Australian authorities have warned that this could take a year to complete.

The Dutch-owned Fugro Equator and the Chinese naval vessel Zhu Kezhen are presently assembling a bathymetric (depth) map.

Dutch vessel is equipped with a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounderDutch vessel is equipped with a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder.

It covers the general location in the southern Indian Ocean where investigators believe MH370 is most likely to have come down.

The map is akin to a broad canvas – a first-ever proper look at a terrain about which there is the slimmest of knowledge.

It is essential work. Without this map, which has a resolution of roughly 25m in the deepest depths, it would not be safe to put down submersibles, as there is a high risk these vehicles would be lost.

“There are volcanoes down there we’ve found which were unknown before,” says Paul Kennedy from Fugro Survey Pty Ltd.

“There are all sorts of new features that are appearing,” the company’s project director for the MH370 search told BBC News.

The Fugro Equator is equipped with a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder.

The vast majority of the area it is covering has never been sampled before.

It has recorded depths near to 6,000m. Even the shallow regions are more than 1,000m down.

But it is the craggy nature of the seabed that will prompt extreme caution to be exercised in the next phase of operations.

two-thirds of the high-priority zone (yellow) has now been mappedtwo-thirds of the high-priority zone (yellow) has now been mapped.

Fugro has been contracted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to conduct this part of the search as well.

It will involve the Equator and another ship, the Fugro Discovery. Both ships will pull a deep-tow instrument very close to the sea floor using a 10,000m armoured fibre-optic cable.

“There are areas that are benign and are going to be fairly straightforward. But then there are some areas that we know are going to be really hard work,” explained Mr Kennedy.

“There are some huge valleys between big mountains, and it’s going to be really hard to tow our device through those areas. We can do it; it’s just going to take a bit longer.”

The Equator and a second ship, the Fugro Discovery, will use deep-tow instrumentsThe Equator and a second ship, the Fugro Discovery, will use deep-tow instruments.

Mr Kennedy likens the deep-tow’s capabilities to human senses.

Echosounders are its ears; cameras represent its eyes; and a chemical sensor works like a nose.

This nose will “sniff” for the presence of any jet fuel in the water, down to a few parts per billion in concentration.

Assembling the bathymetric map has been a tough job in itself.

The Equator has had to contend with some terrible winter weather.

“Heave is the vertical displacement of a vessel – that’s how you measure the size of the waves,” Mr Kennedy said.

“We record it, and you correct for it when computing the bathymetric depth. The biggest heave we’ve had so far is 13m. That’s a big wave.

“Fortunately, the vessel has anti-roll tanks, which push water from side to side inside the ship with great big pumps, and that helps tremendously.

“To get a clean map of the sea floor, we must know the attitude of the ship very accurately, to 0.02 of a degree.”

The Malaysian plane was lost on 8 March as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239 people.

Its disappearance has become one the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

The best information investigators have for its whereabouts come for a series of brief satellite communications with the jet during its flight.

The last of these connections suggests MH370 crashed into the water inside the “high priority” search zone now being surveyed by the Dutch and Chinese vessels.

satellite track of the Fugro Equator shows how it is systematically mapping the ocean floorsatellite track of the Fugro Equator shows how it is systematically mapping the ocean floor.

Article first appeared on the BBC News website.


The Oslo Times.

Australia: Queensland couple who died on #MH17 have been identified


Debris at the crash site of MH17 in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Photograph: Xinhua News Agency/REXDebris at the crash site of MH17 in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Photograph: Xinhua News Agency/REX

An Australian couple who died on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has been formally identified.

Howard and Susan Horder, both 63 and from Brisbane, had been travelling in Europe and were among the 298 killed when the aircraft was shot down on 17 July by a suspected missile over part of eastern Ukraine where rebels have been fighting government forces.

Up to 39 Australian citizens and residents were on board the aircraft.

In a brief statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, members of the Horder family said they were relieved Howard and Susan had been identified. They also wished to thank all those who helped in the process.

“We look forward to Howard and Susan coming home so that we can lay them to rest peacefully. Our thoughts are also with all those affected by this tragedy and we extend our deepest condolences to all the other families,” they said.

The couple have three sons living in Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast and London.

via Queensland couple who died on MH17 have been identified | World news | theguardian.com.

127 victims of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight #MH17 identified


International experts investigating the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on August 1, 2014. Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, Dutch national broadcaster NOS said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS.International experts investigating the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on August 1, 2014. Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, Dutch national broadcaster NOS said. — PHOTO: REUTERS.

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims of downed flight MH17, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, the Dutch national broadcaster said.

“Of the 20, some 15 were Dutch. The nationalities of the rest of the victims were not released,” NOS said on its website.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them Dutch, with the West accusing Russia-backed separatists of shooting it down and Moscow blaming Kiev.

The search for bodies was called off a week ago because of rising clashes between Kiev and the pro-Moscow rebels but the Dutch government hopes to return should the situation improve.

The Straits Times.

Large Team Of #Dutch, #Australian Experts Gets To Work At #MH17 Crash Site


By RFE/RL.A Ukrainian soldier watches from an armored vehicle with a Ukrainian flag in front of OSCE vehicles at a checkpoint in the village of Debaltseve, in eastern Ukraine, on July 31.A Ukrainian soldier watches from an armored vehicle with a Ukrainian flag in front of OSCE vehicles at a checkpoint in the village of Debaltseve, in eastern Ukraine, on July 31.

A large team of international experts has gotten to work recovering bodies at the crash site of Malaysian airliner MH17 in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.

The Dutch Justice Ministry said in a statement that “Dutch and Australian experts arrived at the crash site on Friday morning….The 70 experts will conduct search operations in several places at the crash site.”

All 298 passengers and crew were killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down by what Ukrainian and some Western government sources say was a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists.

Western officials have accused Russia of giving the separatists the missiles capable of shooting down the plane.

Russia denies supplying the separatists with weapons, funds, or fighters.

Breakthrough For Investigators

Efforts to recover remaining bodies from the crash site have been hampered by fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

More than 200 coffins have been sent back to the Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens in the July 17 crash, but many victims’ remains have yet to be recovered amid the fighting.

Ukrainian soldiers with their humvee stand guard on July 31, 2014 near the convoy of the OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) during their mission to reach the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at a check-point in the village of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. © AFPUkrainian soldiers with their humvee stand guard on July 31, 2014 near the convoy of the OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) during their mission to reach the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at a check-point in the village of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. © AFP

A small group of experts visited the crash site for the first time on July 31, after Ukrainian forces declared a “day of quiet” in response to a call for a cease-fire from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Dutch and Australian experts arriving at the site on August 1 were accompanied by officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Australian officials have said they believe up to 80 bodies may still remain at the crash site. International observers have said that evidence at the site has been tampered with.

Intense Fighting, Senior Separatist Said Killed

Ukraine’s military said 14 people, including at least 10 soldiers, were killed in an ambush by pro-Russian separatists near the town of Shakhtarsk, close to the crash site, on August 1.

The military said 13 soldiers remained unaccounted for after the attack.

Government forces have intensified their military offensive against the rebels since the downing of the plane, forcing the rebels out of several towns they had held around their last two big strongholds, the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Meanwhile, reports suggest a senior official of the breakaway, self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” was killed in fighting in the Luhansk region.

Proselkov was the de facto deputy foreign minister of the breakaway Ukrainian region and an aide to its self-proclaimed leader, Pavel Gubarev.

Ukrainian military officials said Proselkov was killed by “friendly fire” from militants and mercenaries from the breakaway “Luhansk People’s Republic.”

A Facebook post by Russian Eurasianist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin on August 1 says 32-year-old Aleksandr Proselkov was killed by gunfire the previous day as he “accompanied a convoy of humanitarian aid” to Donetsk.

Dugin speculated Proselkov may have been killed by supporters of rival Russian nationalist political adviser Sergei Kurginyan because of his support for the breakaway regions’ military commander, Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov).


With reporting by AFP and Reuters

RFE/RL.