Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Victim Had Disturbing Premonition of Plane Crash, Says Bereaved Mother

( [email protected] ) Jul 25, 2014 07:09 PM EDT
A Devastated Family - MH17
Miguel Panduwinata, left, Mika Panduwinata, Samira Calehr, second from right, and Shaka Panduwinata, right, pose for a photo. Shaka Panduwinata and his brother Miguel Panduwinata were killed aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine. (Associated Press/The Calehr family)

The final days of those who died when a Malaysian plane was shot down near the Ukraine-Russian border have been documented in heartbreaking detail by journalists reporting from New Zealands, the Netherlands and Malaysia.

A week ago, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Eastern Ukrained when pro-Russian militants used Russian-supplied armaments to down the aicraft, killing all 298 passengers on board.

One of those killed was 11 year old Miguel Panduwinata from Amsterdam, who was traveling along with his big brother, Shaka, to visit their grandmother in Bali.

According to Samira Calehr, the boy's mother, he had been oddly agitated for days, constantly peppering her with questions about death, about his soul, about God.

She felt his anxiety was odd, as Miguel had often traveled before, and should have been excited about the time of jetskiing and surfing that awaited him.

A day earlier, while playing soccer, Miguel had burst out: "How would you choose to die? What would happen to my body if I was buried? Would I not feel anything because our souls go back to God?"

Calehr recalls the night before the trip, when he had asked, "Mama, may I hug you?"

"He's just going to miss me," Calehr told herself, and laid beside him all night, holding him close.

29 year old New Zealander Rob Ayley was also among those on the flight. He had been in Europe with a friend for a month, and was finally returning home to see his wife and two young sons.

The night before the flight, Ayley sent his mother an email:

"It's been a long, long journey. We've seen the world's greatest Rottweilers, we have established contacts, and made life-long friends, but now I'm just ready to come home. I hope all is well, if we don't talk before hand, I will see you on Saturday. Lots of Love Rob"

Outside customs, Shaka and Miguel hugged Calehr goodbye and walked toward passport control. Miguel suddenly turned back around and threw his arms around his mother.

"Mama, I'm going to miss you," he said. "What will happen if the airplane crashes?"

"Don't say that," she said, wondering why he was so upset. "Everything will be OK."

Shaka attempted to calm them both. "I will take care of him," he said, "He's my baby."

Calehr remembers watching the boys walk away. Miguel kept looking back at his mother, his eyes sad.

The next day, Miguel, Shaka and the 296 other people aboard Flight 17 were killed.

In Amsterdam, Calehr received the news from her friend Aan, who called her panicking. "Where are you?" he screamed. "The plane crashed!"

Upon returning home, Calehr fainted.

Today, she believes her son knew he would soon be in glory.

"I should have listened to him," she says softly. "I should have listened to him."

While devastated, Wendie Ayley says her work as a hospice nurse has given her a different perspective on life.

"When [Rob] died he was 30,000 feet closer to God. He would have known he was dead, and opened his wings," she says. "I believe his first thought would have been, 'This is awesome.'"

Following the news, the international community expressed shock and sorrow.  

The Queen of England sent a letter to Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, expressing her "deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died."

U.S. President Obama visited  Embassy of the Netherlands, where he signed a condolence book for the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and said the United States is "heartbroken" over the horrific event.