Double grief: Australian family loses loved ones in both Malaysian plane tragedies
LIVE UPDATES:Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane crash in Ukraine
Irene and George Burrows' son Rodney and his wife Mary vanished together with Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 this March, leaving their family in grief.
But just a few months later, the couple from Biloela in Queensland State took another blow, with their step-granddaughter, Maree Rizk, and her husband Albert being among the passengers of the crashed MH17 flight.
“It’s just brought everyone, everything back,” Rodney’s brother Greg Burrows told AP. “It’s just ... ripped our guts again.”
Despite the double tragedy, Burrows stressed that he holds no grudges against the Malaysia Airlines. "Nobody could predict they were going to get shot down," he said. "That was out of their hands."
Maree and Albert were returning from a month-long holiday in Europe and reportedly tried to change their flight to avoid a long stop-over. The couple in their mid-50s, who had two children, were among the 28 Australian citizens onboard the MH17 plane.
“They were very lovely people,” Phil Lithgow, president of the Sunbury Football Club, with which the Rizk family was heavily involved. “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.”
Albert, who worked as 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 team.
The Sunbury members plan to wear black armbands and have a minute of silence to commemorate the Rizks during their next match on Saturday, Lithgow added.
Hume City councilor, Jack Ogilvie, also said the community was stunned by what happened to Maree and Albert Rizk.
''We are all shaking our head in shock,'' Ogilvie is cited by the Sydney morning Herald. ''They were fantastic people. Albert was one of the guys, who was always the life of the party.''
The Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 carrying 298 people on board crashed on Thursday as it was flying over Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, the scene of heavy fighting between the government and local anti-government militias.
The plane was apparently shot down by a surface-to-air missile, although both Kiev and the militias from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic deny responsibility and blame each other for the tragedy.