In the wake of the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, condolences have poured in for the families of the 298 passengers and crew members who were on board.
MH17 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was shot down by a BUK missile. Many reports have pointed to pro-Russian insurgents mistakenly shooting down the passenger jet, but rebel leaders have denied this.
This is the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines in a matter of months. It lost flight MH370, which was carrying 239 passengers and crew on March 8 when it vanished from radar.
Reeling from the twin tragedies, Malaysian netizens are using the Twitter hashtag #PrayForMH17 to talk about the crash.
A Malaysia Airlines flight attendant highlighted the loss of lives on MH17 as well as MH370, sharing a picture on Twitter and Instagram:
Within 4month i lost almost 30 frends … Sad but true we live in hostile world #mh17 #malaysia… http://t.co/n1aQ7ohPGp
— HJB ® (@HJB__) July 18, 2014
Many politicians used Twitter to express their shock and explain what they think are the next steps forward.
Prime Minister Najib Razak extended his sympathies to the victims and their families:
Doa saya semasa solat Jumaat tadi utk penumpang2 dan anak2 kapal #MH17 dan keluarga mereka. Ini tempoh yg amat sukar buat kita semua.
— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) July 18, 2014
My prayers today went out to the passengers and crew of MH17 as well as their families. This is an extremely tough time for us all.
Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's minister of defence, tweeted the Malaysian government's priorities:
#MH17 @1MinDef : Our immediate priority – 1) Was d plane brought down? If so 2) How ? 3) Who ? All our intel agensies have been activated .
— Hishammuddin Hussein (@HishammuddinH2O) July 18, 2014
Malaysian Minister for Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin stressed that blame should not be put on Malaysia Airlines for flying over a conflict zone:
We must oppose narrative blaming route selection. FACT: many other planes were traversing same route. FACT: ICAO approved the route. #MH17
— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) July 18, 2014
Several renowned Malaysians also tweeted sympathies and shock. Malaysian badminton player Lee Chong Wei was one of them:
My heart aches to see the family members and loved ones of #MH17 going through such a tragic and devastating loss. pic.twitter.com/2TJyMIB9LL
— Dato’ Lee Chong Wei (@lee_c_wei) July 18, 2014
Television presenter and radio host Xandria Ooi said that blaming will not help the cause:
Listening to the PC was painful. So much implication that MAS flying the route was a mistake. It's a TRAGEDY. Blame doesn't help.
— Xandria Ooi (@xandriaooi) July 18, 2014
Pang Khee Teik, organiser for Seksualiti Merdeka (Malaysia's sexuality rights festival), sent his sympathies:
In a senseless universe, senseless tragedies make sense. In a senseless universe, senseless loving is my only salvation. Hugs to all. #MH17
— Pang Khee Teik (@PangKheeTeik) July 18, 2014
Conspiracies about the crash are circulating in cyberspace, but for many Malaysians this is the time to grieve the loss of innocent lives and to help their loved ones recover from the tragedy.