“She is my daughter. We pray that she is safe,” Sharom Ibrahim could only utter as emotion overcame her when talking about stewardess Nur Shazana Mohamed Salleh who was listed working on Malaysia Airlins flight MH17 which crashed in Ukraine. The Penang-born Malaysia Airlines (MAS) staff was among the 15 crew and 280 passengers on board the Boeing 777 which crashed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after being allegedly shot down over Ukraine airspace. Just 131 days ago, Nur Shazana’s father Mohd Salleh Samsudin found out that his friend’s brother was Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of another MAS Boeing 777 that vanished mysteriously on March 8.

“We are not over that tragedy yet, and this happens,” he said in their house at Persiaran Mayang Pasir in Penang early this morning. Speaking with his wife, Sharom, 57, by his side, he said they found out about the MH17 incident at 11pm when Nur Shazana’s friend called from the US to tell them that she was on that particular flight which crashed in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine. He added that MAS had not confirmed that she was on the plane when they kept calling the airline, while they watched on CNN reports that there is no likelihood of survivors.

Scenes of burning debris on television made the feeling worse. “They (Malaysia Airlines) asked us to stay in Penang first,” he said. Sharom could not speak much as she was overcome with emotion, except to say that Nur Shazana (pic below) was the eldest of four children. Mohd Salleh said it was always Nur Shazana’s dream to be an air stewardess and travel the world. “She went through so many interviews to finally land this job,” said the 54-year-old man. She had been with the airline for the last nine years. He said he and his wife were hoping to get Nur Shazana married soon, and also to see her for Hari Raya. The family has a Whatsapp group, where they had last briefly interacted with her a few days ago. “We never imagined this would happen,” Mohd Salleh added. – July 17, 2014.


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