A couple who lost their three children when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine last week have released a statement detailing their grief.
Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris’s children Otis, 8, Evie, 10 and Mo, 12, all perished in the crash, as did Norris’s father Nick, who was bringing the children home from a holiday in Amsterdam.
Perth-based Maslin and Norris chose to stay on a few extra days, thus missing the doomed flight.
They released this statement via Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs:
A message to the soldiers in the Ukraine, the politicians, the media, our friends and family.
Our pain is intense and relentless. We live in a hell beyond hell.
Our babies are not here with us — we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives.
No one deserves what we are going through.
Not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for Grandad Nick.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for each other.
This is a revelation that gives us some comfort.
We would ask everyone to remember this when you are making any decisions that affect us and the other victims of this horror.
So far, every moment since we arrived home, we’ve been surrounded by family and friends. We desperately pray that this continues, because this expression of love is what is keeping us alive. We want to continue to know about your lives, all the good and all the bad. We no longer have lives that we want to live by ourselves. So we’d like to take the chance to thank everyone, all our incredible friends, family and communities, and to tell you all that we love you very much.
We would also like to thank the people at DFAT; the local co-ordinator Claire and most sincerely, Diana and Adrian from The Hague, without whom we would not be here. We ask the media to respect the privacy of our family and friends — pain is not a story.
Anthony Maslin & Marite Norris
Among the 283 passengers and 15 crew on board were ten Britons, 173 Dutch, 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos, one Canadian and one New Zealander.
The plane was shot down by a long-range surface-to-air missile, a type of weapon owned both by the Russian and Ukrainian armies.