Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

MH17: Kiwi victim finally identified

Rob Ayley's family are still waiting to hear when his body will be returned home.
Rob Ayley's family are still waiting to hear when his body will be returned home.

Rob Ayley, the Otaki man who was killed when his Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine, has been formally identified.

His parents, John and Wendie were told of the development overnight by the British Consulate.

"We haven't had much sleep - haven't had time to do much thinking," Mr Ayley said.

"At this stage we are waiting to meet with staff from Malaysia Airlines to confirm travel plans to go to collect Rob and bring him home."

The Ayleys intended to meet Rob's grandparents in the United Kingdom to allow them to have closure over the death of their grandson, he said.

"We will be returning in the next few weeks with Rob and preparing for his funeral which will be a private family affair."

They were in close contact with their son's wife, Sharlene, and the couple hoped that she and their grandsons could be left in peace to grieve.

"Obviously we are grateful Rob has been positively identified and we feel for the families of those not yet identified as it is a very lonely time waiting for this process to be completed.

"Our hearts go out especially to families whose loved ones may not have made it to Amsterdam yet. Their nightmare may continue for months. Ours is coming to a close for this phase."

Mr Ayley, 29, was flying to New Zealand from Amsterdam on MH17 when it was apparently shot down over pro-Russian territory in eastern Ukraine on July 17.

Nearly 300 passengers and crew died.

A trust was set up for Mr Ayley's children after the crash, which has so far raised about $3000.

- APNZ

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