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American, Indiana University exchange student among Ukraine crash victims

  • keijzer.jpg

    January, 2011 - FILE photo of Karlijn Keijzer, a chemistry student at Indiana University who was among the victims of Malaysian Air flight 17 which crashed in Ukraine Thursday.

  • Ukraine Plane_Leff.jpg

    July 18, 2014 - Passengers personal luggage is collected at the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP)

President Obama confirmed Friday that at least one American was killed on the Malaysian Air flight shot down in eastern Ukraine Thursday. 

Quinn Lucas Schansman had both U.S. and Dutch citizenship, and was on his way to meet relatives vacationing in Malaysia when the plane crashed, The Daily Mail reported. 

Many victims’ stories emerged Friday, after the Boeing 777 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam crashed Thursday afternoon over embattled eastern Ukraine. It remains unclear who is responsible for the attack, but Obama said the plane appears to have been downed by a surface-to-air missile launched from Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists.

The Indiana University community was grieving Friday for a chemistry student and athlete who was also among the 283 passengers killed when Malaysian Air Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine Thursday.

Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a doctoral student in chemistry and had previously earned her master’s degree at the school, according to a statement Friday from Indiana University. 

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie expressed sympathy for Keijzer’s family and friends. “Karlijn was an outstanding student and a talented athlete, and her passing is a loss to the campus and the university. Our hearts also go out to the families of all the victims of this senseless act,” McRobbie said.

Keijzr was a member of Indiana’s women’s rowing team during the 2011 season, helping them to a 14-5 record. She earned athletic honors and participated in the European Rowing Junior Championships in 2006 and the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2007.

“The Indiana Rowing family is deeply saddened by the news of Karlijn’s sudden passing,” Indiana head rowing coach Steve Peterson said. “She was a phenomenal student and loved IU so much that she stayed here after she earned her master’s degree. Our condolences go out to her family and friends in this very tough time,” Paterson said.

An Indiana University staff member told Fox News Keijzer was from the Netherlands. The laregest number of crash victims were Dutch.   

Emergency workers in contact with officials in Kiev say 181 bodies have been recovered from the crash site, of the 283 passengers and 15 crew members aboard the flight.

Malaysia Airlines said the passengers included 189 Dutch, 44 Malaysians, 28 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one person each from Canada, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. The nationalities of two people on board have not yet been confirmed.  

President Obama confirmed Friday that there was one American killed on the flight. 

U.S. officials have been unable to confirm reports that Americans were on board.

An Australian woman who lost her brother and sister-in-law when Malaysian Air flight 370 vanished in March is grieving again after discovering her step-daughter was on Malaysian Air flight 17 Thursday.

Kaylene Mann's brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on Flight 370 when it disappeared in March. Mann found out her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed on the flight.

"It's just brought everyone, everything back," said Greg Burrows, Mann's brother. "It's just ... ripped our guts again."

Burrows said his family was struggling to understand how they could be struck by such horrible luck on two separate occasions with the same airline. "She just lost a brother and now a stepdaughter, so..." he said of his sister, his voice trailing off.

Rizk and her husband Albert, of Melbourne, were returning home from a four-week holiday in Europe, said Phil Lithgow, president of the Sunbury Football Club, with which the family was heavily involved. Albert, a real estate agent, was a member of the club's committee, Maree was a volunteer in the canteen and their son, James, plays on the club's team.

"They were very lovely people," Lithgow said.

Passengers on the plane also included a large contingent of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists headed to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia. News of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community.

Among the passengers was former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange, a well-known researcher from the Netherlands, opposition leader Bill Shorten said in parliament.

Former President Bill Clinton will deliver an address at the AIDS conference, which brings together thousands of scientists and activists to discuss the latest developments in HIV and AIDS research.

WHO's Geneva-based spokesman Glenn Thomas, who was en route to the conference, was also among the dead, said Christian Lindmeier, spokesman for WHO's Western Pacific region.

"Everybody's devastated," Lindmeier said. "It's a real blow."

Flags at government buildings across Victoria will be lowered to half-staff on Friday and will remain that way throughout the conference, the state premier said.

In the Netherlands, flags were flying at half-staff across the country as residents mourned the victims.

At the Tour de France cycling race, all riders observed a minute of silence for the victims before the start of the day's stage in Saint-Etienne. The Dutch team Belkin wore black armbands.

Several relatives of victims met with counselors at Kuala Lumpur's international airport. A distraught Akmar Mohamad Noor, 67, said her older sister was coming to visit for the first time in five years.

"She called me just before she boarded the plane and said, `See you soon,"' Akmar said.

On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, also a Boeing 777 and carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew on a route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared somewhere over the ocean. It has not been found despite expansive searches over land and water.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.