Wednesday 26 November 2014

Father of MH17 victim Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney: 'We need closure... we need them back here'

Published 23/07/2014 | 17:57

Liam Sweeney who has been confirmed as one of the passengers on the doomed MH17 Malaysian Airlines plane from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, July 18 2014.
Liam Sweeney who has been confirmed as one of the passengers on the doomed MH17 Malaysian Airlines plane from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur

A father who lost his son in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash said the families needed to see their loved ones and bury them for "closure".

Speaking in the Netherlands as he awaited Ukrainian military planes flying in to Eindhoven with the bodies of the victims, Barry Sweeney told ITV News of his emotion on making the same journey to Amsterdam as his son Liam Sweeney had just six days earlier.

He said: "We need closure. We need to see our children. All the families, the mams, the dads, brothers, sisters, we need them back here.

"I've come with Liam's brother Mark as a spokesman for the Geordie nation if you can call it that. We need closure so they can be buried very, very soon."

A Malaysian expert (C) examines a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during its handover from pro-Russian separatists, in Donetsk July 22, 2014. The remains of some of the 298 victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over Ukraine were making their way to the Netherlands on Tuesday as Senior Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksander Borodai handed over the plane's black boxes to Malaysian experts. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS TRANSPORT DISASTER CIVIL UNREST)
A Malaysian expert (C) examines a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during its handover from pro-Russian separatists, in Donetsk
A Malaysian expert (L) examines a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during its handover from pro-Russian separatists, in Donetsk
Members of the media take pictures as a pro-Russian separatist places black boxes belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on a desk, before their handover to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk
A satellite image shows the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine
Portraits of (L-R) Jenny Loh, her mother Tan Siew Poh and Popo Fan, who were victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane crash, are seen as a man lays flowers during a silent march held in their memory outside the restaurant, which Loh and Fan owned, in Rotterdam
Parts of the wreckage are seen at a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region
A passenger carriage with the word "Donbass", part of the train carrying the remains of victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17 downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine
Journalists work after a train carrying the remains of victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17 downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine arrived in the city of Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine
A train carrying the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17 downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine arrives in the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine
Protesters chant slogans demanding justice for the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 as they follow the lead of organisers of a rally held by UMNO's youth wing outside the Russian embassy in Kuala Lumpur
Members of the youth wing of UMNO, Malaysia's largest political party, wave placards at a demonstration demanding justice for the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 outside the Ukrainian embassy in Kuala Lumpur
A guard stands on a train carrying the remains of victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17 downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine after it arrived in the city of Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine
In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing part of the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. AP Photo / Channel 1
In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing flames rising from part of the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. AP Photo / Channel 1
In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing part of the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country and plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. AP Photo / Channel 1
In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, people walk amongst the debris at the crash site after a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. AP Photo / Channel 1
A picture taken of Malaysia MH17 as it took off from Schipol Airport shortly before it was shot down over Ukraine
Smoke rises rises from the crash site of Malaysia MH17 shortly after it was believed to have been shot down over Ukraine
Armed pro-Russian separatists stand near the crash site of Malaysia MH17
Wreckage from Malaysia MH17 near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine
An armed pro-Russian separatist stands the Malaysia MH17 crash site
A part of the fuselage of Malaysia MH17 can be seen in a field at the crash site in Ukraine
A map of the region where flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine
A woman reacts to news regarding a Malaysia MH17 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang
Emergency workers at the crash site of Malaysia MH17 in Ukraine
An emergency worker puts fires out at the Malaysia MH17 crash site
An armed pro-Russian separatist takes pictures at the crash site of Malaysia MH17
Emergency workers at the Malaysia MH17 crash site
Wreckage from Malaysia flight MH17 strewn across the crash site
Wreckage of Malaysia MH17 at the crash site in Ukraine
The arrivals screen in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang showing Malaysia MH17
Smoke rises from the debris of Malaysia MH17 at the crash site in Ukraine
Fires burn as night falls on the crash site of Malaysia MH17 in Ukraine

Liam, 28, was travelling along with fellow Newcastle United fan John Alder to see the football club on a pre-season tour of New Zealand.

Barry, a 52-year-old father of seven, said his son had a passion for football.

"Liam didn't show a lot of emotion but I've never seen him as excited as this trip, going half way around the world really," he said.

"Football was his passion and seeing the world because of his passion, seeing more of the world, it's just unbelievable really."

Barry, from Killingworth, North Tyneside, also admitted he experienced some anxiety on the flight over but said he was always going to make the trip.

He said: "Just six days. It's unreal. I've got to admit when I got on the plane... I'm not saying I don't like flying but I've got a bit of a phobia for heights but after this (crash) happening, every time there was a bit of turbulence or something, I've got to admit you think 'what can happen' but I was still going to come regardless.

"I think because of what's happening and it's happening so quickly, it's surreal. I'm on autopilot at the moment. I got up at 7am yesterday morning and I haven't been to bed. Basically I'm running on adrenalin. I'm not thinking. I want to be here for all those people coming back.

"It's unreal because I didn't expect to be here. I've been to Holland before, been to Amsterdam before but when he was flying out I never thought I'd be standing here today talking about anything like this.

"Coming in to land I was thinking I was following in his footsteps. Unfortunately he didn't go much further than here."

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