BUKIT MERTAJAM, July 18 ― MAS steward Sanjid Singh Sandhu was supposed to visit his parents to enjoy his favourite petai curry cooked by his mother this afternoon, his distraught father Jijar Singh said today. Barely able to contain his emotions, Jijar said his jovial son, nicknamed Bobby.

Bobby, was filial and caring and visited his parents often. “He was also coming back today to perform prayers at St Anne’s Church nearby for the upcoming annual St Anne’s Feast,” Jijar said when met at his home in Taman Selamat here. Sanjid, 41, was one of the 43 Malaysians on board flight MH17 that is believed to have been shot down over eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian militants yesterday, killing all 298 people aboard, including 15 crew. The flight was headed towards Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam and was due to arrive at KLIA at 6.30am this morning. Jijar said he raised both his children, a 45-year-old daughter who is now based in Germany and Sanjid, as Christians so they all attend the annual St Anne’s Feast at the end of July every year.

“Sanjid and his wife, who is also a stewardess, usually couldn’t get leave for St Anne’s feast so they would come back early to fulfill their obligations at the church,” Jijar said. Sanjid’s mother, Jagjit Kaur, 73, said they first got a call from their daughter at about 2.30am. “The first time she called, I didn’t pick up, because I thought it was Sanjid who had reached and that he would call back,” she said between tears. When the phone rang for the second time, she picked it up and her daughter told her about the air crash she saw on TV in Italy.

“We called our daughter-in-law at about 4am but she didn’t know then and later, it was confirmed by MAS,” she said in between sobs. “I never thought something like this could happen, not even not even after the MH370 flight that went missing,” she added. Sanjid, who has been working at MAS for about 19 years, was the couple’s only son. “He was a normal healthy person, if he was sick I’d accept it or if it’s an old person, it is normal but this…this is too sudden,” Jijar said. His only hope now is to be able to get Sanjid’s body back so that they could proceed with his funeral rites. “My daughter-in-law is already making funeral arrangements and she will be the one to go to Amsterdam to retrieve his remains,” he said. The elderly couple said they are too frail to be traveling to Amsterdam but they planned to have the funeral rites in Kuala Lumpur where Sanjid had been staying with his family for many years.

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