Tags: Ukraine | Netherlands | MH17

Dutch Sadness Turns to Anger as Answers Sought on MH17

Image: Dutch Sadness Turns to Anger as Answers Sought on MH17
People lay flowers and light candles in front of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev on July 18.

Friday, 18 Jul 2014 09:09 AM

Rob Von Boltog waved friends and family goodbye as they prepared to fly from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to Kuala Lumpur en route to Indonesia, hours after a missile downed an earlier flight on a similar route.

In all, 298 people died in the strike that knocked the Boeing Co. 777 on flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur from the sky within 50 kilometers (30 miles) of the Russian border yesterday. The bulk of the passengers — about 170 — were from the Netherlands.

“I’m relieved that my friends didn’t take a flight half a day earlier,” the 65-year-old consultant from the Hague said. “They should shut down the airspace above the area.”

Across the Netherlands, sadness is beginning to turn to anger as the nation seeks answers to what lay behind the worst aviation disaster to hit the country since more than 200 Dutch tourists died in a collision in Gran Canaria in 1977. As the country’s red, white and blue flag flew at half-mast around Amsterdam’s canals, Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans vowed the government wouldn’t “rest before the cause is clear.”

“The whole of the Netherlands, all of us, are in deep grief,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters at Schiphol airport after flying back from holiday in Germany. “This beautiful summer day had a pitch-black end in every respect.”

The disaster dominated the news in the country of almost 17 million people. “298 Deaths,” De Telegraaf, the biggest Dutch paper, says in black capital letters on its front page. “Horrible Murder,” the subhead says.

“In Shock,” Algemeen Dagblad says, printed over a picture of a woman and bespectacled man with a gold cross necklace, covering his mouth with his hand in horror.

With the families of the dead mostly not yet speaking to the media, much of the coverage focused on Cor Pan, whose Facebook page listed his home as the Dutch town of Volendam. Media reported that Pan was on the flight and had posted a photo of the plane as he was boarding yesterday, adding the line: “in case it disappears, this is how it looks” referring to the Malaysian Airline System Bhd. flight which disappeared without trace in March.

Celebrations around the finish of the Four Days Marches, which involves walkers traipsing 25 miles every day for four days, in Nijmegen in the east of the Netherlands will be toned down, with planned music canceled.

The Dutch soccer association asked clubs to keep flags at half-mast this weekend, wear black armbands during matches and respect a minute of silence before games.

While it remains unclear who is responsible, with Russia and Ukraine blaming each other for the downing of the jet yesterday, Dutch anger is focusing on President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine’s state security service said it intercepted phone conversations among pro-Russian militants discussing a missile strike.

“Hopefully Putin will fall down from his throne and the world can get a better place!” Irene Hoofs, who says she lives in Singapore and was born in Amsterdam, posted on her Twitter feed. “Angry that these people make our world so dangerous.”

Putin, who has repeatedly denied Russian involvement in the fighting in Ukraine, said the government in Kiev bore responsibility because the crash wouldn’t have occurred without the current strife with separatists battling regular forces in two eastern regions of the country.

Dutch-Russian trade relations trace back for centuries. Last year, King Willem Alexander visited Putin in the Kremlin. The King and Rutte attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which was shunned by other government leaders.

Others are questioning the plane’s route. Flight 17 was at about 33,000 feet (10,000 meters), taking a route over eastern Ukraine when it came down. While several other carriers avoided that path, the flight was at an altitude cleared for commercial traffic, according to navigation agency Eurocontrol.

Back at Schiphol Airport, Von Boltog reflects as he considers the flight he is scheduled to take to Indonesia on Wednesday.

“Of course, I’m more worried,” he said.

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Europe
In all, 298 people died in the strike that knocked the Boeing Co. 777 on flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur from the sky within 50 kilometers (30 miles) of the Russian border yesterday. The bulk of the passengers — about 170 — were from the Netherlands.
Ukraine, Netherlands, MH17
668
2014-09-18
Friday, 18 Jul 2014 09:09 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved