Flags half-mast for MH17-victims

POSTED: 07/21/15 7:01 PM


Flag half staff for MH17Flags at the Government Administration building went half-mast last year after the crash of MH17 in the Ukraine. Today, they will be half-mast again in commemoration of the tragedy. Photo Today / Milton Pieters

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs announced that the Dutch and St. Maarten flags will be flown at half-mast today in solidarity with the Dutch government to commemorate the victims of Malaysian airlines flight MH17 that was shot down by pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine today exactly a year ago.

Flags throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands will go half-mast today from all public buildings in municipalities, at provincial buildings and at diplomatic posts around the world at the instruction of the Dutch government.

The doomed MH17 flight left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia last year. It carried 298 passengers and crew. Rebels shot the plane down over Ukrainian airspace, killing all passengers, including 196 Dutch citizens.

The plane carried quite some passengers who were on their way to the 20th International Aids conference in Australia. One of the victims was Dr. Joep Lange, a former president of the International Aids Society. He was scheduled to travel to St. Maarten the next month to speak at an international workshop about prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapy in Caribbean HIV patients.

St. Maarten’s former HIV/Aids program manager Suzette Moses-Burton attended the meeting in Australia, but she escaped the disaster in the Ukraine, having taken a flight just 24 hours prior to the departure of MH17.


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