KUALA LUMPUR – An entire family of six that had been returning home after three years living abroad was among the 44 Malaysians killed in the Flight MH17 disaster, media reports said Saturday.
Tambi Jiee, 49, and his wife, Ariza Ghazalee, 46, perished along with their four children when the Malaysia Airlines flight went down in eastern Ukraine. They were reportedly returning to Malaysia after her husband’s three-year posting in Kazakhstan for energy giant Shell, first taking a short European holiday.
Images of a wailing Jamilah Noriah Abang Anuar, 72 — Ariza’s mother — dominated front pages of Malaysian dailies on Saturday.
“I lost my daughter and her family in a blink of an eye,” the New Straits Times quoted her as saying from her home in the eastern state of Sarawak on Borneo island.
Ariza had posted a photo on Facebook showing the family’s luggage as they prepared to embark from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport for the flight to Kuala Lumpur. “17 July 2014, starting our new hijrah (journey), Alhamdulillah (praise God),” read the accompanying message.
Her son Afzal Tambi also had posted his thanks and farewells to friends from Kazakhstan on Thursday, writing: “Before it gets too cheesy, I just want to thank everyone who made it bearable for me to live here and for sharing with me amazing memories to reminisce on.”
The Boeing 777 came down with 298 onboard in a separatist-held region of Ukraine, with the United States claiming it was shot down in a missile attack, a possible casualty of the Kiev government’s battle with pro-Russia rebels.
The disaster has deeply shocked Malaysia, which is still grappling with the trauma of the March 8 disappearance of Flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew aboard, including 38 Malaysians. No trace of the MH370 plane has been found, a mystery that has severely damaged Malaysia’s image abroad and left furious passengers’ relatives deeply anguished and demanding answers.