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Dutch man vacationing in Madison: "Almost everyone" knows MH17 victims

By: Max Hess - Email
By: Max Hess - Email

Nearly a week after tragedy struck over the skies of war-struck Ukraine, about 40 bodies of the nearly 200 Dutch aboard the Boeing 777 returned home today.

It's step one of many in a long path of healing for a nation that demands answers.

In Madison, Auke Barnhoorn is in from Holland visiting his aunt.

He and his family just got in on Monday, and they've enjoyed it so far -- but of course there's something on Auke's mind.

"There's a lot of talk about the plane crash of course... that's all you see on the news... because so many Dutch people were involved in the crash," he said.

As a father, it's a terrible thought to him.

"Those people were going on holidays, just like us, and suddenly they died."

A country made up of 17 million people, Auke says it's not unusual to know someone who died.

"On Sunday they showed on the news like a map of Holland... and where everybody lived that [was] involved in that crash and the whole country was covered with little dots," he explained.

Auke knew somebody aboard MH17 as well.

"Unfortunately yes," he said.

Now the recovery process slowly begins as the Dutch deal with their loss and their anger -- Anger than Auke feels too.

"When a plane is hit by a missile in a war zone...when those people who were on board didn't have any... relationships... or involvement... yea, you feel mad about that."

Flight MH17, a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 carrying 298 people, was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur July 17 when it was struck by a missile over the Ukrainian-Russian border.

There were no survivors.

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