I was in the air over Ukraine when Malaysia Airlines plane crashed: Netherlands ambassador to Kazakhstan22 july 2014, 20:01
Ambassador of the Netherlands to Kazakhstan Hans Driesser was on board another plane flying over Ukraine when the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashed over a rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine.
In his interview to Tengrinews the Ambassador told how shocked he was to learn that he was in the air whilst the tragedy of the MH17 flight was unfolding.
Driesser said that he was flying from Amsterdam to Astana on Thursday and there was but a slight difference in time between his flight and the ill-fated Boeing. He also flew from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol but had a transfer in London. He learned about the tragedy only upon landing in Astana. The Ambassador said that this was the moment of realization that such things could happen to anyone. He called this moment of awareness especially shocking.
The Embassy of the Netherlands in Kazakhstan issued a statement on its website, in which it expressed their nation's shock and grief at the recent tragedy. “The Netherlands is pressing for an independent and transparent international investigation and calls on all those involved to provide full and immediate cooperation,” it said.
Now that the nationalities of almost all passengers have been identified, it appears that the majority of them were Dutch – 189 people.
In express their condolence Kazakhstanis are bring flowers to the office of the Embassy in Almaty.
Kiev residents are also grieving together with the Dutch. The Dutch Embassy in Kiev is literally surrounded by flowers, bears and notes. It is a scene only about 3km away from Maidan – the place, where it all started in Ukraine.
Reporting by Assel Satayeva, writing by Dinara Urazova