Operation Bring Them Home, the government’s plan to retrieve the remains of the 38 Australians killed when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine has brought relief for at least one family, with the remains of Victorian couple Mary and Gerry Menke being formally identified.
The couple had been in France celebrating Gerry’s 70th birthday with family and friends and were on their way home to Mallacoota, in the Gippsland region. Dutch-born Mr Menke was an abalone and pearl farmer, while his New Zealand-born wife ran a beauty and hairdressing salon in the small coastal town.
The Menke family released the following statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
We are relieved that Mary and Gerry Menke have been identified and wish to thank all those who have helped in this process.
We look forward to receiving Mary and Gerry again soon in the place and the community they loved so much and which loved them. Once again we extend our deepest condolences to all those affected by this tragedy.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott today said, “The Dutch have done a splendid job as we have watched this situation over the days and weeks since the atrocity.”
“I want to ensure the Australian families the remains are being treated with respect and people are being identified as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, The New Straits Times is reporting that RM111,000 ($37,500) has been withdrawn from the bank accounts of four passengers aboard the missing flight MH370.
The missing funds were discovered in a bank audit and mid July and Malaysian police began an investigation into it on August 2.
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