A well known Phnom Penh-based physiotherapist is in mourning today for her brother, one of 298 feared dead after the Malaysia Airlines crash.
The city’s Dutch community was expected to hold a candlelit vigil on Friday outside the Malaysian embassy to mourn 173 of their countrymen. Tallander Niewold, a soldier in his 20s, was aboard the flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur believed to have been shot down by a Russian-made missile. He was on his way to Bali to meet his brother, who lives on the island.
Their sister Lidwina Niewold, who moved to Cambodia in 2011, was to have joined them there, according to a colleague. Instead, she was on her way to the family home in Brummen, in east Netherlands. Phnom Penh Crown FC, where Niewold works as a physiotherapist to the team, posted a message of condolence on Facebook.
“Everyone at Phnom Penh Crown would like to offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the team’s physiotherapist Lidwina Niewold and her family for the sad loss of her brother Tallander,” it read. The news has devastated Dutch expats living in the capital, many of whom frequently take the same flight.
“This is my regular route into Asia. I certainly can relate to the whole thing,” said Michael Klinkhamer, a locally-based photographer. “Of course, I am very shocked and sad.”
It’s the second tragedy of the year to hit the community, after Dutch UN worker Daphna Beerdsen and her baby daughter were murdered in their home in April.
In a photo posted to Facebook the day before the doomed flight, Tallander Niewold posed in army uniform, his right shoulder adorned with new insignia. “Promoted to soldier 1st class good start to the holidays!” he wrote.
Friends commented underneath, expressing at first their congratulations and later, as news of MH17 emerged, their horror. “Jeez, Tally.. indescribable.. Rest in peace and strength to the next of kin,” one wrote.