By BTL Staff
Australia – UPDATE: Previous reports that "more than 100" AIDS researchers lost their lives aboard the Malaysian flight MH17, as reported by the Australian Press, have been found inaccurate.
The flight crashed July 17 near the Russia-Ukraine border, killing all 298 people on board, only six of whom were top AIDS Researchers. The plane, which had been flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was reportedly shot down by a missile. It was due to connect with another Malaysia Airlines flight scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on July 18.
The New Civil Rights Movement reports that early news that around 100 delegates were lost aboard MH17, repeated by President Obama, now appear to be inflated. The International AIDS Society (IAS) confirmed the names of six advocates who has been scheduled to attend the conference, but said the number may increase with new information.
"The number that we have confirmed through our contacts with authorities in Australia, in Malaysia and Dutch authorities as well, is six people," IAS president Francoise Barre-Sinoussi said. "It may be a little bit more, but not the numbers that have been announced."
Mother Jones reports the names of those confirmed dead include Dr. Joep Lange and his partner Jacqueline van Tongeren of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development. Also, "Pim de Kuijer, an AIDS campaigner for Stop Aids Now!; Martine de Schutter, a program manager at the same organization; Lucie van Mens, director of support at the Female Health Company; Glenn Thomas, a former BBC journalist and spokesman for the World Health Organization."
"This community, we've lost 35 million people in the last 30 years to AIDS, so we know what it means to lose friends, to lose patients, to lose family members," UNICEF's top HIV/AIDS advocate Craig McClue said. "So this is not the first loss, and one of the things that has come together over the years is our collective sense of loss and our anger at the epidemic, and the loss of Joep and Jacqueline and the others on that plane just brings us together again and reminds us of why we're doing this work, and gives us again that sense of solidarity."