ELIZABETH JACKSON: Correspondent Samantha Hawley has found herself
back in Malaysia to cover yet another story about a Malaysia Airlines
Here are her thoughts:
(Sound of chanted prayer)
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The family of flight attendant Ham Fazlin are grieving in Kuala Lumpur.
They allow myself and an ABC cameraman to come to their home and watch and film as they conduct a prayer for her soul.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Tragedy has struck in Malaysia for a second time now in the middle of the normally joyous Ramadan.
As relatives of Fazlin break down, children play around them blissfully unaware of what's unfolded.
She was a mother of two boys. The youngest, 18 months old, was still breastfeeding. Her sister tells me he cries for his mother's milk.
Touching down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on the morning after the plane crashed is a surreal experience, because four months before, I'd made the exact same rushed journey.
It was immediately clear Australians would have been on that flight, because Australians always are.
Just 131 days prior, I had been on the ground in the Malaysian capital, covering the disappearance of MH370.
MALAYSIA AIRLINES SPOKESMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, I will now give a brief statement on the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: For a second time, a press conference room is set up at the only airport hotel. For a second time a room is cordoned off for family members of those of those onboard. And for a second time a lull hangs over a normally bustling airport.
But there's a different feel this time, because this time families know the fate of their loved ones.
When you say the numbers out loud, it's shocking: in four months, 537 people have died on Malaysia Airlines flights. That includes 27 crew members: all Malaysian nationals.
One former Malaysia Airlines flight attendant I spoke to had been sacked in January for fighting for greater conditions for staff. She argues they're among the lowest paid in the world.
She'd worked for the carrier for almost 20 years and the Amsterdam-to-KL (Kuala Lumpur) route was a regular for her.
But when I ask if she feels lucky, she immediately, without hesitation, says no. Because, she says, so many of her colleagues and friends onboard both those planes had children and families, and she doesn't. Instead, she's overcome by guilt.
FORMER MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANT: And losing friends: it hurts. It just hurts so much. And I can't see my friends, I mean, I want to go there and be with them and I can't. It hurts.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: And so it was for a second time that I was reporting on human grief and despair in a nation where the unthinkable had struck twice.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Samantha Hawley with that report.