Top AIDS Researchers Were on Doomed Plane
World experts were bound for Melbourne conference
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2014 12:12 AM CDT
Updated Jul 18, 2014 7:53 AM CDT
People hold candles and place flower tributes outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev to commemorate victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash.   (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

(Newser) – As many as 108 of the 298 people killed on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were researchers, activists, and health workers bound for a major AIDS conference in Melbourne, delegates have been told. Among them was Dutch researcher Joep Lange, one of the world's top HIV experts. He had been researching the disease for more than 30 years; one conference delegate tells the Australian he was "the father of AIDS research in the developing world." Another expert tells the Guardian that "there were some serious HIV leaders on that plane" and that the crash "will have ramifications globally" on research.

At the 20th International AIDS Conference, "it's going to be a very somber week," American HIV activist Sean Strub says. "The struggle with the epidemic is bigger than any one individual, but the collective loss of so many important people is one that is emotionally devastating." The premier of the state of Victoria says the doomed plane flying from Amsterdam was supposed to connect with a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. "The shooting down of a passenger aircraft full of innocent civilians is an unspeakable act that will forever leave a dark stain on our history," he says. The Telegraph reports that out of the passengers and crew whose nationalities have been verified, there were 154 Dutch citizens, 27 Australians, 23 Malaysians, 11 Indonesians, six British citizens, four Belgians, four Germans, three Filipinos, and one Canadian.

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Showing 3 of 125 comments
Jul 19, 2014 11:45 AM CDT
Time for an update (or retraction) on this story, Newser. People who know what they are talking about say that only 6, and perhaps a few more, were on the plane. That is just SLIGHTLY less than was reported and the President stated. Fix it.
Tony Ventana
Jul 18, 2014 4:40 PM CDT
There went the answer to a possible AIDS cure. From 33,000 feet altitude straight down to ground level.
Jul 18, 2014 3:01 PM CDT
Another setback for queers. When will it end?