‘Happy travellers’ boarded MH17

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IOL pic july21 malaysia ukraine mh17 tail wreckage in field Reuters A part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is pictured in a field at the crash site, near the village of Hrabove, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, on July 20, 2014. Picture: Maxim Zmeyev

The Hague -

An airline ground crew member who checked in passengers for Flight MH17 has made an emotional post on Facebook, recalling sending off holidaymakers, children and grandparents with wishes for “a pleasant flight”.

“A loving family of six with their 10 pieces luggage that I had to put in the system. 'After long time we're returning home',” wrote Renuka Manisha Virangna Birbal.

In the post, which has been shared almost 10 000 times, Birbal said she asked two football fans with business class tickets whether they would like to sit together. After a moment's hesitation, one joked: “No, I want some rest.”

“It was busy at the check-in desk, so I went there to help my colleagues,” she wrote, remembering “a child smiling and waving at me”.

A total of 298 people, 80 of them children, from 11 different countries died when the plane exploded over rebel-held Ukraine, allegedly blown out of the sky by missile fired by pro-Russian separatists.

IOL pic july18 malaysia airlines ukraine crash debris cross The site of a Malaysia Airlines plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Maxim Zmeyev Reuters

“Mom, when do we see our luggage again?” asked one excited child.

“A man who is about to start a new life in Malaysia... a family get dropped off by their grandparents, kids first holiday far away,” remembered the airline employee.

“Grandma makes photos of how her children and grandchildren check in. This time I do not mind that I am in the picture.

“A newly married couple, on the way to their honeymoon... a beautiful little girl held by her mother, her father behind them pushing the stroller. She's so beautiful, a half Dutch half Malaysian with beautiful big eyes. She kindly smiled at me.

“A man who could still join the flight to be on time for the funeral of his mother. Grandchildren travelling with their grandparents.

“Suddenly I see a familiar face, it is our colleague from the MH ticket counter. He proudly shows me his son, wife and daughter. With a big smile he waved 'See you soon'.”

“A final farewell to the crew, till next time! And then we removed the bridge.”

“The last time I saw them... I wished them a pleasant flight”

“Rest in peace dear passengers and crew,” Birbal said in her post, signing off “on behalf of the ground handling agents of flight MH17 on Thursday July 17”. - Sapa-AFP



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