‘It really hit us how close he came to missing the plane’: Mother of MH17 victim, 25, reveals the one fatal mistake which cost him his life – and why she doesn’t hate Russia
- Mother of passenger aboard MH17 has revealed his moments before boarding
- Meryn O’Brien said her son Jack, 25, had run through airport to catch the flight
- It was also revealed the flight was delayed due to over-booking and transfers
- MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in 2014 killing all 298 passengers on board
- The international investigation team pressed murder charges this week
The mother of a 25-year-old passenger who lost his life aboard flight MH17 has revealed her heartbreak at watching her son’s final moments as he sprinted through the airport to catch the doomed plane.
Meryn O’Brien has opened up about her reaction to viewing CCTV footage of her son Jack’s last moments in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport as he made his way to catch the Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur.
‘We knew from Jack’s friend [who came back separately] that they had been running a bit late but we didn’t realise how late they were,’ Ms O’Brien told The Age.
‘Jack actually came close to missing the plane. It took a lot of time at baggage check in and stuff like that.’
The video showed Jack running with his carry on luggage along the walkway leading to the boarding gate.
Meryn O’Brien has opened up about viewing CCTV footage of her son Jack’s (pictured) last moments in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport as he ran to catch the Malaysia Airlines flight
Jon and Meryn O’Brien have opened up about how close their son came to missing the doomed flight that was shot down in 2014 over Ukraine
Ms O’Brien asked if Jack was the last to board the plane as the footage showed him running down an empty corridor and was told he was the second last or last person to step on the flight.
‘We were watching, thinking why didn’t he fall over? Why didn’t he sprain an ankle, break a leg or something like that as he was rushing to the plane?’ she said.
What Jack was unlikely to have known is that the flight had been delayed by 13 minutes due to over-booking and the late arrival of transfer passengers.
Ms O’Brien said if the plane had taxied away from the gate on schedule, there was a good chance Jack may not have boarded the plane and would be alive today.
Families of the MH17 victims were allowed to view CCTV footage from Schipol airport recently.
Ms O’Brien says some of the families didn’t want to do it, but she and her husband Jon felt they should even though they knew it would be gut-wrenching.
Mr O’Brien said the loss of his son was still agonising but revealed he doesn’t hate Russia or its people over the attack.
‘I am also tempted to hate in response to that anger I feel about Jack’s life being violently snatched away,’ he wrote after his death.
‘But it was hate and division that cost Jack’s life in the first place. I also believe I must separate ordinary Russian people from those responsible for the attack.’
Mr O’Brien fondly remembers his son Jack and their walks together to the soccer ground where he would practice.
He said he never got to tell Jack how much joy he got from these quiet walks or from watching the talented player warm up for training.
Dutch prosecutors on Wednesday charged Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov and Ukrainian Leonie Kharachenko over the July 17, 2014, disaster in eastern Ukraine.
Jack O’Brien, 25, had been holidaying in Europe when he caught flight MH17
Pictured: The wreckage of MH17 that was shot down over Ukraine in 2015. This week the international investigation team pressed charges over the attack
Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Crozier said the probe into who was responsible for shooting down the Mayalsian Airlines plane and killing all 298 people on board, including 38 Australians, will continue until all possible suspects have been identified.
All four were officials in the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic and were allegedly responsible for the Buk missile launcher being brought into the area from Russia.
They will be tried – likely in absentia, because Russia and the Ukranine don’t allow the extradition of their citizens – in the Netherlands on March 9.
Jon O’Brien says the loss of his son Jack (pictured) is still agonising but reveals he doesn’t hate Russia or its people