You likely know the tragedy of Flight MH17 by now, but you may not know this story about Cor Pan, a Dutch man. Because he was flying on Malaysian Airlines — and remember, Flight 370 was only a few months ago (the one that seemingly disappeared without a trace somewhere in the Indian Ocean) — he posted a picture of the plane to Facebook, saying “If the plane disappears, this is what it looks like.” Haunting:
As he made his way down the sky bridge from gate G03 at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport, he paused to take a picture of the Boeing 777-200 that he and Ms Tol were about to board.
In a reference to the disappearance of flight MH370 in March, Mr Pan posted the picture on his Facebook page with the message: “If the plane disappears, this is what it looks like.”
His friends responded by wishing him a good holiday and reminding him to send back lots of photos, but within hours their messages would turn to fear, and then despair.
Ironically, social media was also the way that credit was taken for shooting down of the aircraft:
On the ground, Igor Strelkov – also known as Igor Girkin – the leader of the pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian government forces for control of eastern Ukraine, used his page on the social networking site Vkontakte to boast that his men had just shot down an aircraft. In a message posted at 2.50 p.m. BST, he wrote: “In the district of Torez an An-26 was just shot down. It crashed somewhere near the Progress mine.
“We warned them not to fly in ‘our skies.’ Here is video confirmation of the latest ‘fallen bird.’ The bird landed outside the residential zone, no peaceful civilians were injured.”
Here are some additional resources on Cor Pan, including what happened to that Facebook comments thread once news broke about the plane. You can read more context here, here and here.