Final Facebook Post From Malaysia Airlines Crash Victim Goes Viral
A passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 tried to make a joke about the company's other missing plane on his Facebook page, but his lighthearted comment has since become a legacy of the double disaster.
Alongside a photo of the jetliner as it sat on the tarmac in Amsterdam, Dutch passenger Cor Pan wrote: "Should it disappear, this is what it looks like," before he and his girlfriend boarded.
The message has since gone viral, after Facebook friends and family realized that Pan — who was traveling to Malaysia on vacation with his partner, Neeltje Tolthe — was one of the 298 passengers and crew killed when Flight MH17 went down over Ukraine on Thursday, which marked the second tragedy involving Malaysia Airlines in just a few months.
Pan's Facebook page was quickly flooded with messages of condolence as the depth of the tragedy emerged. "Such a lovely life taken away," wrote a friend below the photo. Pan was one of 154 Dutch passengers on board, along with 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine British, four Belgians, four Germans, three Filipinos, one Canadian and one New Zealander. No Americans have yet been confirmed as passengers.
Several onboard were traveling to Melbourne, Australia, for the 20th International AIDS conference, which was starting on Sunday. The Academic Medical Center hospital in Amsterdam said in a statement that two of its staff, including renowned AIDS researcher Joep Lange, a former president of the International AIDS Society, and his colleague Jacqueline van Tongeren were believed to have perished.
"Joep was a man who knew no barriers," the hospital said in a statement to the Associated Press. "He was a great inspiration for everybody who wanted to do something about the AIDS tragedy in Africa and Asia."
MH17 took off from Amsterdam's Schiprol Airport on Thursday morning on the way to Kuala Lumpur. It crashed in Ukraine in the middle of its journey, carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew.
In March, another Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. That plane still has not been found.