Flight MH17 was shot down Thursday over Ukraine by what the U.S. believes to be separatist forces supported by Russia’s government. The tragedy has touched people around the world, from the Australian woman whose stepdaughter died just months after her brother disappeared on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to the Dutch cyclist who cheated death twice by switching out of both flights at the last minute.
Then there’s college student Quinn Lucas Schansman, the only American aboard the doomed plane.
But one of the most poignant stories comes straight from Malaysia, where the family of flight attendant Sanjid Singh Sandu is devastated after learning he only boarded the aircraft so he could get home earlier. Sandu leaves behind a 10-year-old son and a wife, also a Malaysia Airlines flight attendant, who narrowly escaped a similar fate on Flight 370 when she swapped shifts.
“I beg the rebels to please be human for one reason. At least release the bodies,” Sandu’s father tells CNN. “They want to fight, they can go ahead fighting.”