In an almost incomprehensible twist of fate, an Australian woman who lost her brother in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 learned on Friday that her stepdaughter was on the plane shot down over Ukraine.
Kaylene Mann's brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were onboard flight MH370 when it vanished in March.
On Friday, Mann found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed along with her husband, Albert and Marie Rizk, and 296 others on MH17, which US intelligence authorities believe was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
Kaylene Mann, of Brisbane, was too distraught to speak publicly on Friday and requested privacy to deal with her latest loss.
"It's just brought everyone, everything back," said Greg Burrows, Mann's brother. "It's just ... ripped our guts again."
Burrows said his family was struggling to understand how they could be struck by such horrible luck on two separate occasions with the same airline.
"She just lost a brother and now a stepdaughter, so..." he said of his sister, his voice trailing off.
In an even more cruel twist, a spokesman for the Rizk family, Ken Grech, said the couple tried to change their flight to avoid a lengthy stopover in Kuala Lumpur,according to the Herald Sun.
Rizk and her husband Albert, of Melbourne, were returning home from a four-week holiday in Europe, said Phil Lithgow, president of the Sunbury Football Club, with which the family was heavily involved.
Albert, a real estate agent, was a member of the club's committee, Maree was a volunteer in the canteen and their son, James, plays on the club's team.
"They were very lovely people," Lithgow said. "You wouldn't hear a bad word about them - very generous with their time in the community, very community-minded, and just really very entertaining people to be with."
The club members planned to wear black armbands and observe a minute of silence to honor the Rizks at their game on Saturday, Lithgow said.
Despite the twin tragedies, Burrows said he holds nothing against Malaysia Airlines.
"Nobody could predict they were going to get shot down," he said. "That was out of their hands."
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Flight MH17 was said by eyewitnesses to have "exploded" after it was reportedly shot down by a ground-to-air missile.
In a statement released this morning, Malaysia Airlines said: "With immediate effect, all European flights operated by Malaysia Airlines will be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur went down in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines confirms that the aircraft did not make a distress call.
"The usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.