Bin Laden death: 'Massive relief' for victim's family

Alan Beaven was the only New Zealander killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Photo / AP
Alan Beaven was the only New Zealander killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Photo / AP

The news of Osama bin Laden's death has come as "overwhelming relief" to a New Zealander who lost his brother on September 11, 2001.

"It was very much a surprise. It's been quite some time," said Ralph Beaven, whose brother Alan Beaven was one of 45 people on United Airlines Flight 93.

The aircraft was taken over by terrorists and crashed near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Mr Beaven was the only New Zealander killed in the 2001 attacks - he was reported to have been among a group of passengers who fought back against the terrorists, something his family are proud of.

The day before his fatal flight, Mr Beaven - a father of three and a 48-year-old lawyer educated at Auckland University - celebrated his eighth wedding anniversary with his American wife, Kimi.

"Our family are quite scattered around the world, but we will be making some communication [tonight]," Ralph Beaven said yesterday.

"There's an overwhelming sense of relief."

There had been so much uncertainty over what was happening with bin Laden that the family was forced to simply get on with life.

"Even when there's no closure we've had to move on and not let it consume us," Ralph Beaven said.

At the time of the tragedy, he had elderly parents in Australia who have since died.

Ralph Beaven acknowledged that his family had suffered, but he was quick to point out that he was not alone.

"There have been many, many people in many nations who have been terribly affected," he said. "We have, too, but only along with everyone else who have been involved with September 11 or other subsequent terrorist attacks."

But Ralph Beaven said he harboured no hatred for anyone involved in the terrorist acts.

"I've never had a feeling of hatred, ever, because you've got to get on and have a positive spin," he said. "People who allow the hatred to take over aren't better off for it."

Because his brother's death had happened on such a historic occasion, it was difficult to feel a personal sense of closure, Ralph Beaven said.

"There ... will never be closure because the memories linger. But it's welcoming news - bin Laden really was an evil man."

- NZ Herald

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