Dutch PM Rutte: Circumstances "unclear" in MH17 crash
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte released a statement Thursday evening expressing his dismay over the crash in Eastern Ukraine of a flight from Amsterdam to Malaysia. The country's top security official noted that those onboard the plane are of many nationalities. "I am deeply shocked by the tragic news about the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur via Ukrainian territory," he said. "Very much is still unclear about the facts, the circumstances and the passengers."
Prime Minister Rutte, of conservative party VVD, went on to say that he is abandoning his holiday and returning to the Netherlands after speaking with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. He went on to say that he intends "to monitor and to handle the situation. Our thoughts go out to the passengers, their families and friends." Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten (VVD) echoed the prime minister's statements, saying, “I am aware that this investigation cannot go fast enough, but everyone at this time is doing everything possible to inform family and friends.” He went on to say that the facts surrounding the crash are still not known, and that people from many different nationalities were on the Boeing 777. People concerned about loved ones onboard Flight 17 may contact Malaysia Airlines emergency number, +60 378 841 234. A local Dutch phone number for those needing information has not yet been released. The left-leaning PvdA party leader Diederick Sampson said that he was "deeply shocked" by news of the plane crash. The PvdA is a government coalition partner along with the VVD. Similar sentiments were expressed by the leaders of each major Dutch political party. Rutte left for vacation Wednesday following this week's European Union meetings in Brussels. He was scheduled to return on August 15.