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Air Crash in Ukraine

Air Crash in Ukraine

A Boeing 777 of the Malaysia Airlines

The Hague, Netherlands [Andrew McChesney, CD EUDnews]. An Adventist Church leader from the Netherlands changed her plane ticket at the last minute from the Malaysian Airlines jet that crashed in eastern Ukraine last week, killing all 298 people on board.

July 22, 2014 | Andrew McChesney, CD EUDnews

The Hague, Netherlands [Andrew McChesney, CD EUDnews]. An Adventist Church leader from the Netherlands changed her plane ticket at the last minute from the Malaysian Airlines jet that crashed in eastern Ukraine last week, killing all 298 people on board.

The leader, Frieda Souhuwat-Tomasoa, had booked a seat on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on July 17, Wim Altink, president of the church’s Netherlands Union Conference, said Tuesday.

“But since she wanted to arrive at her destination earlier, she at the last minute changed to a flight a day earlier on Emirates,” Altink said.

Souhuwat-Tomasoa, a member of the Executive Committee of the Netherlands Union Conference and an elder in her local Adventist church, Rotterdam-North, was traveling to Ambon, Indonesia, to assist in a United Nations mandate to reconcile people in an area buffeted by sectarian conflict a decade ago.

She frequently travels to Ambon, located on Maluku Islands, just to the east of the island of Sulawesi, as an active participant in the UN program, Altink said.

Souhuwat-Tomasoa, who is currently in Ambon, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crashed in an area of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russia rebels during a regularly scheduled flight. The U.S. and other Western nations have suggested that the rebels shot down the plane with a missile supplied by Russia. Russian officials have denied the accusations and released imagery that they say shows a Ukrainian fighter jet approaching the airliner shortly before the crash.

Two-thirds of the passengers were Dutch. No Adventists were on board, said Altink, who has checked the names on the plane’s passenger list with Adventist leaders in other countries.

In the Netherlands, the Adventist community and the rest of the country is reeling in shock because nearly everyone knows at least one of the passengers directly or indirectly, Altink said.

“Our country is mourning,” he said. “The crash has made a big impact. Everybody is affected.”

Local Adventist leaders prayed for those who lost loved ones on the plane during a weekly meeting on July 21, the Netherlands Union Conference said in a statement. Dutch Adventist churches also held special prayers during worship services last Sabbath.

“We are deeply saddened by the unprecedented suffering caused by the disaster flight MH017 in eastern Ukraine,” Altink said in the statement. “We empathize with and pray for God's strength and comfort for all those affected and the next of kin.”

picture: Wim Altink, president of the church’s Netherlands Union Conference (credit: Adventist Church)

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