A British family cheated death on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 after they were bumped off the doomed plane when they arrived at check-in.
Barry and Izzy Sim were planning to travel to Kuala Lumpur with their young baby but were told by staff at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport that there were not enough seats on the plane.
Mrs Sim said that there ‘must have been someone watching over’ them as they were switched to a later KLM flight – just hours before MH17 was shot down in an ‘act of terrorism’.
They were due to board the Boeing 777 aircraft which left Schiphol airport at lunchtime today. Just hours later it exploded into flames as it was hit over territory in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels. All 283 passengers and 15 crew on board were killed.
Nine British passengers have been confirmed as among the dead.
Speaking to theDaily Telegraph about his reaction to the crash, Mr Sim, from Scotland, said: ‘You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach… We started getting butterflies. Your heartbeat starts going.’
Mrs Sim added: ‘There must have been someone watching over us and saying “you must not get on that flight”.’
The couple, who described themselves as loyal customers of Malaysian Airlines, said that they were ‘so glad’ not to have been put on the plane.
Mr Sim told the Daily Telegraph he now felt ‘philosophical’ about what had happened and believed that the couple should take the KLM flight.
He added that his wife does not feel the same way as she is wary of the danger of another crash.
On Thursday airlines were advised to cease flights over the region – and faced questions as to why commercial jets had been flying over what is effectively a war zone.
Last night there was speculation that flight MH17 had taken a short-cut across the disputed region of eastern Ukraine to save fuel.
Dutch authorities have said that at least nine Britons, 154 Dutch, 27 Australians were among the dead. The nationalities of 41 people on board have not been confirmed.
Earlier it was feared that 23 Americans had perished based on a Reuters report, but there has been no confirmation of any U.S. deaths since then from the State Department.