Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

MH17: Shaken cabin crew pull out of work

Malaysia Airlines flight attendants say they may need psychological help after finding their work too stressful.

The two disasters this year are having an effect on Malaysia Airlines staff. Photo / AFP
The two disasters this year are having an effect on Malaysia Airlines staff. Photo / AFP

A Malaysia Airlines flight attendant says the MH17 tragedy has left some crew scared of flying.

The flight attendant, who spoke to the Herald on the condition of anonymity, said Kuala Lumpur-Auckland flights at the weekend needed "last-minute replacements" after two rostered crew members pulled out.

MH17: Rebels say black boxes will be returned

"What happened to MH370 left us shaken but some of us are totally crushed after MH17.

"MAS is like one big family and losing our colleagues feels like losing our family members, and this is just too hard to take."

Read more of the Herald's MH17 coverage today:
MH17: Russians claim Ukrainian jet flew close to plane
MH17: Shaken cabin crew pull out of work
Claims of looting at crash site add to grief for victims' families

Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine last week, killing 298 on board, including 15 crew.

The tragedy occurred just four months after another Malaysia jet, Flight MH370 with 12 flight crew, mysteriously disappeared.

At least one flight attendant on the downed MH17, Angeline Premila Rajandaran, 30, worked on a Kuala Lumpur-Auckland flight and spent two nights in Auckland weeks before the crash.

Malaysia's National Union of Flight Attendants (Nufam) said the airline's cabin crew had been traumatised by the tragedies with some developing a fear of flying.

MH17: Officials fear MH17 site tampered by rebels

Ismail Nasaruddin told Malaysian media some flight crew needed psychological help.

"We were just about to ride through [MH370] and here we are again [MH17]," the Star newspaper quoted Mr Ismail as saying.

"We cannot believe that this incident can happen at this time."


The train car is locked as a refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers prepares to depart the station in Torez. Photo / AP


A satellite image shows the primary crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Photo / Airbus DS/AllSource Analysis/AP


Toys and flowers placed at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Photo / AP

Another report said Malaysian crew members were demoralised by the tragedies and some had taken extended leave as they were too mentally affected to return to work.

Malaysian Airlines was unable to comment last night.

Messages to the MH17 crew have flooded Facebook page "A Fly Guy's Cabin Crew Lounge".

The site was set up for flight attendants to share photographs and stories, but has now become a page for condolences and sympathies for the Malaysia Airlines crew who died in the Ukraine disaster.

"Kia Ora, Air New Zealand staff send their love, greetings and support to you, Malaysia Airlines," read a message posted yesterday.

Malaysia Airlines said yesterday it would refund all cancellations made by Thursday, including non-refundable tickets.

It would also waive fees for passengers who wished to delay travel plans. New Zealand travel agencies are fielding inquiries from shaken customers concerned about travelling with the airline. But the vast majority of Malaysia Airlines passengers are continuing with their travel plans because of the hefty cost of booking with a different airline or changing other components such as hotel bookings, rental cars or connecting flights.

Meanwhile, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew says his team will aim to put on a show in memory of two fans killed when MH17 went down. The English club will wear black armbands in tonight's game against Sydney FC in Dunedin in memory of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, and there will be a minute's silence. The pair were heading to New Zealand for the Football United tour, which starts at Forsyth Barr Stadium, when MH17 went down in Eastern Ukraine.

Next trending article: Russians claim Ukrainian jet flew close to plane

- NZ Herald

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