Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Front pages of Dutch newspapers feature the crash of a Malaysian jet. / Van Lonkhuijsena, AFP/Getty Images

AMSTERDAM - Residents in the Netherlands were in shock Friday as news spread that nearly two-thirds of the passengers onboard a Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over eastern Ukraine were Dutch nationals.

"People are very upset, mostly grieving a lot, and they are also sorry for the loss of other people," said Lianne Kuperus, 29, in Amsterdam. "Everyone is talking about the disaster, everyone is pretty emotional about it."

Around the country, flags were lowered to half-staff as people gathered in squares, and traditional festivals were toned down in honor of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which was carrying 298 people - 189 of whom were Dutch nationals - from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile Thursday.

Dutch lawmaker Willem Witteveen of the Dutch Labor Party was one of the victims, Dutch media reported.

"People are shocked and simply don't know what to say," said Jan de Jong, 49, of Amsterdam. "It's bizarre and surreal ?? I mean it is already horrible that a plane crashes, but the fact that it happened allegedly as a result of a missile attack makes it harder to take in."

One family from Zeeland booked to fly on Malaysian Airlines MH17 arrived at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam only to find the flight was overbooked.

Gert Jansen, his wife, Pudji, and son, Pasha, were rerouted on a Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) flight via Dubai, and it saved their lives, Bert Jansen, Gert Jansen's brother, told the Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant.

Cor Pan of Volendam in the north wasn't so lucky. A few minutes before he boarded the flight, he took a picture of the jet and posted it to Facebook, joking, "If this plane disappears, (at least) you will know what it looks like." The post quickly went viral in the aftermath of the crash.

The Ukraine crash is the biggest air disaster to affect the Netherlands since the Tenerife air crash in 1977, when 248 people aboard a KLM flight were killed in a collision with another plane. All but eight of those passengers were Dutch nationals.

Jong said he has flown the same route that the Malaysian jet took Thursday.

"(I) could never have imagined that a missile could take down a commercial airliner at such an altitude," he said. "Apparently I am wrong, and that's very disturbing."

Dutch officials promised to push for answers in what could have been the deliberate downing of the jet.

"It was a pitch-black day for the Netherlands and for Malaysia - we mourn everybody onboard the flight, no matter where they came from," said Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, who called for safe and unhindered access to the site for Dutch investigators.

In Nijmegen, one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands dating back to the first century A.D., the traditional Four Day Marches were set to end Friday. Normally raucous, participants told media they weren't much in the mood to finish.

"We are shocked by the events surrounding the plane crash on Thursday," read a sign at the starting gate and other points during the race for thousands of participants, as reported by Dutch Omroepwest.nl news website. "We offer our condolences to those who lost loved ones."

The runners weren't much in the mood to continue but decided to finish.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: 189 Dutch killed on MH17 flight; Netherlands in shock

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

TUE
21
WED
22
THU
23
FRI
24
SAT
25
SUN
26
MON
27

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX