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Queen sends prayers to families

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The Queen has sent her condolences to Australia following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine.

Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove received a letter today in which the Queen expresses her “deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died”.

It comes as the Federal Government updated the Australian death toll to 38.

A New Zealand citizen and long-term resident of Victoria has been included in the number of Australian residents killed when the jet was shot down.

It is one of Australia’s highest death tolls from an overseas disaster.

Other countries within the the Commonwealth were also affected with 44 Malaysians, one Canadian and nine British passengers also killed.

The Netherlands lost 189 travellers in the disaster.

Some victims’ bodies have already been repatriated to the Netherlands awaiting identification.