MH 17 flight crash victims include Joep Lange, World’s Top AIDS Researcher

Sydney: Some of the world’s top AIDS experts, bound for an international conference in Melbourne, Australia, were among those killed in Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash, authorities said Friday.

The International AIDS Society (IAS) in a statement on its web site said the loss of so many lives was a deep tragedy, reported Xinhua.

“IAS expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine,” the statement said.

“At this incredibly sad and sensitive time, the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.”

It is believed the former president of the International AIDS Society, Joep Lange, was among those killed. He had been involved in HIV treatment and research for more than 30 years, working for the World Health Organization.

He was also the founder of the not-for-profit PharmAccess Foundation which aims to provide and improve access to health care in Africa.

Former US president Bill Clinton and singer and activist Sir Bob Geldof are among the high-profile speakers attending AIDS 2014, the 20th International AIDS Conference, which will start Sunday.

Another report says that Six members of a family were killed in the Malaysian plane crash.

The entire family from Kuching city were on their way back from Kazakhstan transiting via Amsterdam, reported

Tambi Jiee, 49, was with his wife Ariza Ghazalee, 47, and four children – Mohd Afif, 19, Mohd Afzal, 17, Marsha Azmeena, 15, and Mohd Afruz, 13.

The family was returning from Kazakhstan, where Jiee had been working for about three years.

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The Malaysian aircraft from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in Ukraine Thursday, killing 298 people onboard.

The identified passengers and crew comprised 154 Dutch, 43 Malaysians including 15 members, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine British, four German, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one Canadian.

The nationalities of 41 passengers are yet to be determined.

An Indian-origin flight steward Sanjid Singh Sandhu, 41, was among the 15 Malaysian crew members.

Sandhu’s parents received the news from their daughter-in-law, who is also a flight stewardess with Malaysia Airlines, at 4 a.m. Friday.

His distraught father Jijar Singh told a TV channel that “recently he swapped with a colleague for the return Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight”.