MH17: Shift swap cost steward life, saved wife earlier

The smouldering crash site Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Boeing 777 came down on the Russia - Ukraine border with 295 people on board

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.

Image copyright Hasnoor Hussain/The Malaysian Insider
Image caption Jijar Singh said his son was supposed to visit him on his return from Amsterdam

Sanjid Singh lived with his wife and their seven-year-old son in Kuala Lumpur.

"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.

His daughter, who lives in Italy, informed him of the crash early on Friday, after learning of her brother's death four hours earlier.

"I have undergone two heart bypasses. Our daughter waited until four in the morning to tell us. She dare not tell us earlier. I am 71 and she [Sanjid's mother] is 73. We are in such a state. My whole body is shivering," he told the newspaper.

"We are heartbroken because he was our only son. What to do? What has happened, has happened."

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