LGBTI global news 24-7

100 AIDS experts did not die in MH17 crash in Ukraine after all

Seven people who were traveling to the International AIDS Conference have been confirmed to be among the dead from the shooting down of flight MH17 but the figure of 100 dead researchers appears to have been a rumor that spread among conference-goers in Melbourne
Tuesday's candlelight vigil for those killed on flight MH17
Photo by International AIDS Conference

Reports that around 100 people on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 were traveling to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne appear to have been the result of a rumor that spread in the absence of the airline making public the passenger list for the flight.

At least seven leading HIV experts were killed when the plane was brought down over a rebel held area of the Ukraine but the figure of 100, sometimes given as 108, dead who were traveling to the conference is now known to be incorrect.

The number began spreading among attendees at the conference who began sharing it on social media, and it was then picked up by the media.

Even Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott began repeating the figure of 100 HIV experts dying in the plane, appearing to give the figure official confirmation.

Exactly where the rumor started remains unknown.

However with the release of more information it is now known to be incorrect.

Those who were traveling to attend the conference who are known to be among the dead include past president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange, World Health Organization media adviser Glenn Thomas, and Pim de Kuijer and Martine de Schutter who worked for organizations associated with the AIDS Fonds foundation.

The conference continues this week in Sydney with former US president Bill Clinton and musician and activist Bob Geldof speaking at the conference.

A candlelight vigil for the dead of flight MH17 was held in Melbourne during the conference on Tuesday evening.

It is estimated that 12,000 people are in Melbourne for the conference.

Comment on a news story