The death toll from the shoot-down of a commercial Malaysia Airline Boeing 777 en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam on Thursday has been raised to 298 people.
Previous reports claimed there were 280 passengers and 15 crew members onboard, but the airline announced Thursday night that three infants were also on the plane and are presumed dead. Two of the infants were citizens of Malaysia and one from Indonesia. The airline will not release the passenger manifest until all of the victim's families have been notified.
We are in the process of notifying #MH17 next-of-kin. Once all have been notified, the passenger's manifest will be released.
— Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) July 18, 2014
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Scores of the passengers were on their way to a conference in Melbourne of UNAIDS, the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, according to the program’s director Michel Sidibe. U.N. World Health Organization spokesman Glenn Thomas and former President of International AIDS Society Joep Lange were two of the passengers. One report said more than 100 delegates to the AIDS conference were on the plane.
— Michel Sidibé (@MichelSidibe) July 17, 2014
The plane was en route to Perth after Kuala Lumpur, and Australian officials are seeking access to the site of the crash, according to Reuters.
Passenger names are just beginning to be released, while the airline begins to notify their next-of-kin and foreign governments work on identifying victims.
Earlier on Thursday, Chinese-language Malaysian news agency Sin Chew released crew member names. All were Malaysian citizens.
Captain: Wan Amran Bin Wan Hussin (male, 50 years old)
Captain: Eugene Choo Jin Leong (male, 45 years old)
Vice- captain: Ahmad Hakimi Bin Hanapi (male, 29 years old)
Vice- captain: Muhamad Firdaus Bin Abdul Rahim (male, 27 years old)
Mohd Ghafar Bin Abu Bakar (male, 54 years old)
Dora Shamila Binti Kassim (female, 47 years old)
Azrina Binti Yakob (female, 41 years old)
Lee Hui Pin (female, 42 years old)
Mastura Binti Mustafa (female, 40 years old)
Chong Yee Pheng (female, 40 years old)
Shaikh Mohd Noor Bin Mahmood (male, 44 years old)
Sanjid Singh Sandhu (male, 41 years old)
Hamfazlin Sham Binti Mohamed Arifin (female, 42 years old)
Nur Shazana Binti Mohamed Salleh (female, 31 years old)
Angeline Premila Rajandaran (female, 30 years old)
According to a statement published on the airline’s website Thursday night passenger nationalities were as follows: 154 Dutch; 43 citizens of Malaysia; 27 from Australia; 12 from Indonesia; 9 from the United Kingdom; 4 each from Germany and Belgium; 3 from the Philippines; and on from Canada. The nationalities of 41 victims are still unverified.
The airline added that all of its European flights will be taking alternative routes.