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MH17 Family members of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), flight MH17's chief steward Mohd Ghaffar Abu Bakar, 54, are in shock over news that the aircraft had crashed in Ukraine, near the Russian border.

Suzana Ismail, 48, who is Mohd Ghaffar's half sister (they share the same mother) said the family only learned of the incident through the television.

"I was informed about it this morning by my elder sister who watched the news on television. My brother's daughter who is working with Singapore Airlines (SIA) has also contacted her mother (Mohd Ghaffar's wife).

"But we have not received any confirmation on the fate of those on board," she said when contacted by Bernama.

Suzana said the last time she met her brother was at the wedding of a relative three months ago.

Meanwhile in George Town, the father of another crew member Nur Shazana Mohamed Salleh, 31, did not know that his daughter was on the flight.

Mohamed Salleh Samsuddin, 54, said he was informed by Nur Shazana's friends, while MAS contacted him around 11 pm.

He and his wife, Sharom Ibrahim, 56, were in disbelief, as their oldest child had just sent a message on July 16 through WhatsApp.

"She had asked us to send a photo of her nephew with my and her mother's identity card photographs. She sounded cheerful.

"She also requested that we wait for her return home on the second day of Hari Raya as she wanted to visit her grandmother's grave with us," he told reporters when met at the family residence in Bukit Gedung.

Nur Shazana who had been working as a Mas stewardess for nine years was among 15 crew and 280 passengers on board MH17 which lost contact with Mas about 12.15 pm (local time) from waypoint Tamak, about 50 km from the border between Ukraine and Russia.

An international news agency reported that a Malaysian airliner with 295 people on board had crashed over Ukraine near the Russian border while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Mohamed Salleh said he did try to contact his daughter, who he said loved her profession, but there was no response.

The family would wait for instructions from Mas on whether or not to come to Kuala Lumpur, he said.

- Bernama

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