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Thursday 18 September 2014

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

Published 23/07/2014 | 17:57

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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".

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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 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 (L) examines a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during its handover from pro-Russian separatists, in Donetsk
Fires burn as night falls on the crash site of Malaysia MH17 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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