A Queensland man who died in the Malaysia Airlines tragedy joked about not returning from his European holiday.
Before leaving Brisbane, 63-year-old retiree Howard Horder quipped that he was flying with Malaysia Airlines and only needed a one-way ticket, his brother says.
It was a reference to the baffling disappearance of MH370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March.
“I spoke to him two days before he went on his holiday and he said he was flying with Malaysia Airlines,” Glenn Horder said.
“I said, ‘Jeez really?’ and he said, ‘Yes, I only bought a one-way ticket’, but he was joking.
“He did buy a return ticket, but that’s just my brother’s sense of humour.
“He just said that because the other flight didn’t come back.”
Mr Horder and his wife Susan, 63, of Albany Creek, were among seven Queenslanders aboard flight MH17 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.
Glenn Horder said his family and neighbours were still coming to grips with the news.
“Most of the population of Australia can’t believe you could go on a holiday and you’re going to get shot down by a rocket,” he said.
“It’s still hard to believe they’re not coming home from a simple holiday.”
Also on the doomed flight was Sunshine Coast-based 55-year-old Wayne Baker, and his wife Theresa, 53, who like the Horders were returning from a European holiday.
Helena Sidelik, in her late 50s, was on her way home to the Gold Coast after attending a friend’s European wedding.
And Toowoomba couple Roger and Jill Guard, both respected doctors, were also on board the ill-fated flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after attending a medical conference.
Meanwhile a central Queensland family who lost two members on the ill-fated MH370 flight confirmed a family connection to victims in the latest tragedy.
Irene and George Burrows from Biloela lost their son Rodney and his wife Mary in March when the Malaysia Airlines flight vanished.
Their Victorian step granddaughter Maree Rizk and husband Albert were aboard MH17.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the passengers, crew and their families following the tragic incident,” the Burrows family said in a statement on Saturday, that also requested privacy.
“The public support and focus should remain with the passengers and their families.” the statement said.
Premier Campbell Newman urged the community to rally in support of grieving families, and also sent a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He said Mr Putin would not be welcome at November’s G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane unless he and Russia fully co-operated with an international investigation into the crash.
“If Mr Putin’s not prepared to do that, well frankly I believe that Queenslanders don’t want him here at the G20,” Mr Newman told reporters in Brisbane.
“He has the opportunity to demonstrate some good faith and that can be done by properly getting behind international efforts to get to the bottom of what is clearly, in my view, a crime, a terrible crime.”