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WHO staffer died in plane crash

Geneva -

The World Health Organisation says its spokesman, Glenn Thomas, was on board the Malaysian jetliner that crashed in Ukraine.

Fire engines arrive at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, on July 17, 2014. Picture: Dmitry Lovetsky. Credit: Associated Press

Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the Geneva-based UN health agency, says the 49-year-old Briton was travelling to Melbourne, Australia, to attend the 20th International Aids conference, which starts on Sunday.

Hartl told reporters on Friday in Geneva that Thomas, who regularly briefed journalists and responded to media requests for interviews and comment, had been with the WHO for more than a decade.

He said Thomas “will be remembered for his ready laugh and his passion for public health”.

Hartl says no other UN employees were aboard the plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and crashed on Thursday with 298 people on board. - Sapa-AP

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