MH17 crash: Tragic twists of fate and lucky escapes

Several tragic twists of fate related to MH17 have emerged in the 24 hours since the plane crashed in eastern Ukraine. There are also stories of lucky escapes.

The couple who lost family in both Malaysia Airlines disasters

Australian estate agents Albert and Maree Rizk were among the victims of MH17.

But their deaths come as an extraordinary and almost unbelievable tragedy for their family. Irene and George Burrows, from Biloela in central Queensland state, lost their son Rodney and his wife Mary on MH370.

Maree Rizk is the daughter of Irene's son-in-law from his first marriage, so is Irene and George's step grand-daughter.

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Image caption Rodney and Marry Burrows were on the ill-fated flight MH370

Although Irene never met Maree and Albert, she told the BBC's Tessa Wong that the whole extended family is "devastated".

"This incident has brought back a lot of bad memories [of MH370].

"When we first heard about a Malaysia plane today, I thought they found it. Basically my daughter (Kaylene) has now lost her brother and her stepdaughter."

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The steward who swapped shifts and died on MH17 after his wife had swapped shifts and avoided the MH370 tragedy.

A Malaysia Airlines steward changed shifts to fly on the jet which crashed in Ukraine on Thursday - months after such a swap saved his wife from a similar fate.

Sanjid Singh was one of the 15 crew members on the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The plane was carrying 298 people.

In an extraordinary twist of fate, his wife, also a flight attendant, had switched from Malaysian jet MH370 which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March with 239 passengers on board, according to a report in The Malaysian Insider.

"Sanjid's wife was meant to fly on MH370 but swapped with another colleague at the last minute," Jijar Singh, the steward's father, told the newspaper.

"He was last here [in Penang] about a month ago. He told us recently that he swapped with a colleague for the return Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight," Jijar Singh said.

Mr Singh said his son had been expected to visit them after his return from Amsterdam.

"His mother had prepared all his favourite dishes," he said.

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Cor Pan joked on Facebook about his plane disappearing shortly before it took off.

The Dutch man was off on holiday with his girlfriend Neeljte Tol when he put up a picture of his plane on Facebook - a moment of black humour - with the caption:

"If my flight to Malaysia disappears, this is what it looks like"

His friends responded by wishing him happy holidays but as news broke of the plane crash their communications on his Facebook page betrayed increasing concern which turned to immense sadness.

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Media captionBarry and Izzy Sim: "We were supposed to be on that flight"

The couple who changed their flight because of a lack of seats.

Barry and Izzy Sim have described how they narrowly missed taking the flight because only one seat was available.

"We were supposed to be on that flight," Mr Sim said. Instead they booked on a KLM flight.

After hearing of the crash, Mr Sim told the BBC: "You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. We started getting butterflies. Your heartbeat starts going."

"In my mind, lightning never strikes twice in the same place so I am still philosophical that you get on the flight and you go about your life. "

An Adelaide couple also had a lucky escape by deciding to leave a day earlier from Amsterdam, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Simone La Posta and her husband were booked to fly from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on flight MH17 but changed their plans at the last minute, the AAP reported.