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Flight 17 Malaysia Airlines

An eerie photograph sent via smartphone text message to Cor Pan’s Facebook page shows Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol just before it took off last Thurday. An additional Facebook message included a friendly joke about ‘stepping up’ to enter the plane. Image: Cor Pan/Facebook

(WNN) Denver, Colorado, U.S., AMERICAS: As investigations into Ukrainian pro-Russian militia members and military ties to the Russian government expand, one Australian woman is facing something she never expected: the death of members of her own family.

Because of the intensified conflict that threatens to split Ukraine apart as it rages now in the country’s eastern region, Kaylene Mann of Brisbane, Australia also faces a double tragedy.

Mann lost her stepdaughter Maree Rizk, along with Rizk’s husband Albert, as Malaysian flight MH17 was allegedly shot down on the border of Ukraine and Russia last Thursday. Today 298 passengers who were on the flight are now assumed dead. Tragically the couple connected closely to Mann that boarded flight 17 almost missed death. They came close to rescheduling their flight agenda at the last minute, but didn’t.

In what may be akin to being struck by lightning twice, Kaylee Mann also lost her brother on Malaysian flight MH370 that is thought to have crashed without a verifiable trace in a mystery of disappearance that is thought to have occurred over the Indian Ocean last March.

Malaysia’s flight 17 was hit, by what has not yet been completely verified but has been described as a ‘ground-to-air’ missile, as the Boeing 777 airplane crashed last Thursday on the eastern border region of Ukraine.

It is there a controversial delay in the removal of the bodies of dead passengers took place over as 15.5 square mile stretch of land near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine was cordoned off from any investigation. As members of the global investigative team, including Dutch forensics experts and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), were delayed the crash investigators were finally allowed to go into the crash site on Sunday.

Opening the crash site to international experts by the pro-Russian militia was only allowed after what Al Jazeera news reported were reconnaissance efforts by the militia to get the airplane’s black box recorders.

Before its crash Malaysia flight 17 was on a routine flight schedule leaving from Amsterdam, Netherlands to arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where those who were flying on to Melbourne, Australia would connect with another plane.

More than one hundred passengers, a majority of them Dutch, on flight 17 were on their way to attend a five day global AIDS conference. Many were AIDS activists or NGO (Non-governmental organization) staff workers.

AIDS 2014: Stepping up the Pace is the 20th world conference on AIDS which is launching today in Melbourne. The conference will be bringing high level experts together to discuss the latest information on global AIDS and treatment of the disease from July 20 to 25. Medical doctor and respected AIDS researcher, Dr. Joep Lange, was expected to be there. Along with his partner Jacqueline van Tongeren, a former HIV/AIDS clinical research nurse, the two did not make it to the conference.

They too, along with the spokesperson for the World Health Organization, Glen Thomas, were some of the passengers on board crashed flight MH17.

Almost two thirds of the passengers on Malaysian flight 17 were from the Netherlands. Others were traveling from the Netherlands from other locations.

As Kaylene Mann suffered last March under the disappearance of her brother and sister-in-law Rod and Mary Burrows on Malaysian flight 370, she and other family members are now reeling under the second series of deaths in their family on flight 17.

“It’s just brought everyone, everything back,” said Mann’s brother Greg Burrows, in a public statement made in Australia to the press after the news of the crash of Malaysian flight 17 was released. “It’s just … ripped our guts again,” he continued.

Today the Ukrainian government, as well as those who support the government of Russia, are now accusing each other of shooting down the airplane as investigations continue and U.S. and Russian relations remain diplomatically cold.

“This is a very very critical moment for Russia to step up,” outlined U.S. Secretary Kerry in a CNN interview today.

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