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Malaysia Airlines releases MH17 passenger manifest

Malaysia Airlines released a full list of passengers and crew on Saturday that were killed when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine. 

The airline appealed to family and friends of the victims to contact the carrier so it can get a full picture of the next of kin. A spokesman said Malaysia Airlines is assessing security in Ukraine before making a decision about possibly flying next of kin to the country where 298 passengers and crew lost their lives. 

The spokesman who declined to be named in line with company policy, said family members are being care for in Amsterdam while a team from the carrier, including security officials, is on the ground in Ukraine. He said the team was trying to travel "500 kilometers (310 miles) through difficult territory" to reach the area where wreckage of the Boeing 777 landed. 

Click here to see the full passenger manifest. 

Forensic teams fanned out across the Netherlands on Saturday to collect material including DNA samples that will help positively identify the remains of victims. Malaysia Airlines said 193 of the 298 passengers and crew killed in Thursday's strike were Dutch. 

"In the past 45 hours, the airline together with various foreign embassies have made every effort to establish contact with the next-of-kin but is still unable to identify many more family members," Malaysia Airlines said in a statement.

Initial reports stated that 23 Americans were on board. However, President Obama said Friday that at least one American was among the dead. The manifest listed no Americans, but the State Department confirmed in a tweet that Quinn Lucas Schansman, listed as a Dutch citizen on the manifest, held dual-citizenship.

Police said in a tweet that 40 pairs of detectives from the National Forensic Investigations Team would be visiting victims' relatives over the coming days.

Their aims is to build a database of material including DNA and photographs of distinguishing features like scars and tattoos that can be used to identify bodies and body parts recovered from the crash site in eastern Ukraine. 

Across the Netherlands, at sports clubs, schools and churches, friends met Saturday to console each another and attempt to come to terms with their loss.

The European Union police coordination body Europol said Saturday it would assist Interpol and other agencies in identifying victims in Ukraine.

"We will do our utmost to support the work that must be done following this horrific incident, where hundreds of families and friends to the innocent victims on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 are grieving and left with unanswered questions," Europol Director Rob Wainwright said in a statement.

Dutch newspapers carried pages of photos and stories Saturday about the dead. Travelers flying out of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport laid flowers and signed a condolence book before boarding their flights, including Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to Kuala Lumpur.

"I am not really afraid. It's good that they kept the same flight number," Mirelle Geervliet said as she prepared to board the aircraft. "It doesn't change anything. If you change the number, people will start to be afraid."

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, on a visit to the Netherlands, was among those who signed the condolence book at the airport.

"This is a real tragedy -- a tragedy for families, for nations and for the HIV AIDS community," Annan said, referring to several AIDS researchers who were on the doomed flight. "We should all hope that a thorough international investigation will be conducted and we will know what happened and the culprits should be held to account."

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans was in Kiev on Saturday, pushing for a fully independent, international probe into the downing of the plane, a day after Prime Minister Mark Rutte steered clear of apportioning blame but vowed not to rest until the perpetrators are brought to justice if it is proven to be an attack.

Thursday's disaster marks the second tragedy in less that five months for Malaysia Airlines. A union official said the disaster has left some airline employees so shaken that they have been unable to function properly at work. 

The carrier was still dealing with the mystery of Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people onboard en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when news of Thursday's tragedy broke. 

National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia President Ismail Nasaruddin said some employees "are sad and very depressed." 

"We have not overcome the battle of missing MH370, and within such a short period, this incident has taken place involving another Malaysia aircraft," Nasaruddin said in a news conference Saturday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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