“Mama, I’m going to miss you,” 11-year-old Miguel Panduwinata told his mother before boarding Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on the night of July 16. “What will happen if the airplane crashes?”
Those were the last words he would ever speak to his mother.
Samira Calehr told the Associated Press on Wednesday of her son’s premonition in the hours before before Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday. Calehr said her son, who is well-traveled and “normally cheerful,” kept asking her about death, his soul and God in the days before he became a victim in the Malaysia Airlines tragedy.
“How would you choose to die?” a worried Miguel asked his mother. “What would happen to my body if I was buried? Would I not feel anything because our souls go back to God?”
Calehr said she thought Miguel was just going to miss her. “Mama, may I hug you?” the child reportedly asked, and Calehr said she held him the entire night before his doomed trip.
Miguel and his 19-year-old brother, Shaka, of Amsterdam were en route to Bali to visit their grandmother and enjoy a vacation jet-skiing and surfing. Calehr said Shaka had dreams of being a textile engineer, for which he just finished his first year of college, and Miguel wanted to be a go-kart race driver.
The boys hugged their mother outside of customs at Schiphol Airport and walked toward passport control to board the plane.
“Mama, I’m going to miss you,” Miguel said, hugging his mother. “What will happen if the airplane crashes?”
“Don’t say that,” Calehr remembered saying. “Everything will be OK.”
Calehr said she watched as her sons walked away, but Miguel’s “big brown eyes looked sad” as he kept looking back. Shaka told his mother earlier he would watch over Miguel.
“I will take care of him,” Shaka told his mother. “He’s my baby.”
Calehr’s other son, 16-year-old Mika, was unable to get a seat on Flight MH17 and was planning to travel to Bali the following day. Mika was going to bring socks along with him for Shaka, who was worried he had forgotten to pack them.
Calehr said she learned of the crash just after purchasing the socks for Shaka in Amsterdam.
“Where are you?” her friend Aan, who accompanied her to drop the boys off at the airport, screamed on the phone. “The plane crashed!”
Calehr said she went home and fainted.
“I should have listened to him,” she told The AP. “I should have listened to him.”
The family has set up a condolence page for Shaka Calehr and Miguel Panduwinata.