KUALA LUMPUR: The staff of many airlines around the world have flooded a Facebook page with their messages of tribute to the crew of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 which crashed in Ukraine on Thursday.
The Facebook account that goes by the name of "A Fly Guy's Cabin Crew Lounge" and enables flight attendants from around the world to network, share stories and photographs, has now turned into a site to express their condolences and sympathies for the MH17 crew who died in the crash.
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it went down in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border on Thursday. The Boeing 777 aircraft was carrying 298 people - 283 passengers and 15 crewmember. The Ukraine authorities claim that the aircraft was shot down.
A post titled "Letters of Love to Malaysia Airlines" uploaded 151 photos as "an album contains letters of love and support made by airline employees around the world".
"Over the past few days, airliners around the world have taken to the sky with heavy hearts. An air disaster doesn't affect just one airline; it takes a part of all our spirits down with it. We are united by wings and airline staff around the world want our family at Malaysia Airlines to know we are standing behind them," the post said.
Among the tributes is one from an Air France crew with the caption: "May you forever fly on the wings of an angel."
An Egypt Air crew posted: "RIP, Flight Attendants Don't Die, They Just Fly Higher."
A Brussels Airlines crew said: "MH17, you are in our prayers."
From the crew of Tame Airlines of Ecuador: "You will never be forgotten, MH17. Forever in our hearts."
The crew of American Airlines stated: "The 100,000 employees of American Airlines remember the passengers and crew of MH17. Rest in peace."
Among the people who posted comments on Facebook soon after news of the crash appeared is one Ineke Muller of the Netherlands, who said: "OMG, I was supposed to fly to KL tomorrow, but I got sick! ... my favourite airline for many years. I cannot believe this ... I live in Amsterdam ... very, very sad!"
Malaysian Robert Leong said he flew MAS whenever he could. "In fact, I just flew HK-KL-HK (Hong Kong-Kuala Lumpur-Hong Kong) two days ago and will be doing it again, with MAS, on 5th Aug ... chin up, chest out and march on ahead MAS. I, for one, will always support you ..."
Chris Wi, a staff of German airline Lufthansa, said: "A tragedy so big that it's almost impossible to find (the right) words to describe how heartbroken we are at Lufthansa.
"I've commuted from BKK (Bangkok) to FRA (Frankfurt) for almost 10 years and did that with MH very often - a big consoling hug to all my beloved flying siblings at MH," he added.
Emirates flight attendant Jayde Read shared her feelings: "RIP, MH370 and now MH17. I am so sorry to all the passengers, crew, family and friends who are affected through this hard time.
"I just can't believe this has happened, let alone to Malaysia Airlines twice now with two such horrible tragedies and so close to one another. Such a horrible shock throughout the world. I am a crew with Emirates and I really am feeling this pain even though I didn't know anyone on the flight, and can't stop thinking about it," she said.
She said there were enough disasters in the world and now this had happened to innocent people by what seems (to be) a fatal mistake by humans, which should not have happened.
"It's so heartbreaking ... I send my love and thoughts to everyone affected," she added.
Darsie Barker Chase of Southwest Airlines of the United States said many crew started their career with airlines when they were young, and "many of us thought it would be a fun way to see the world, and quickly found out that we didn't just get a job, we got a family.
"When something happens to one of us, no matter the carrier, it hurts, but to find out that someone did it on purpose, that pain and fear is indescribable. It's like someone did it to your sibling. God bless you Malaysia," she said.
"A Fly Guy's Cabin Crew Lounge" account also carried pictures of MH17 stewardesses Angeline Premila Rajandran, 30, and Shazanah Salleh, 31. Angeline was said to have been the youngest cabin crewmember on the flight and described as a jovial and good person at heart and Shazanah was described as someone who had been full of life and always with a heart-warming smile. - Bernama
More on MH17