A BENDIGO Dutch couple has told of their shock and heartbreak after learning MH17 had been shot down, having taken the same flight a few weeks earlier.
Anne Janssen, 76, and Jim Amsing, 75, flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on their way home to Bendigo after a month's holiday in the Netherlands on board a Malaysian Airlines plane on Friday, June 13.
Mrs Janssen learned the horrible news after receiving a text from Mr Amsing on Friday morning last week.
"Please Anne, say a silent prayer for those people in the plane," Mr Amsing's text read.
Mrs Janssen said her sister-in-law rang her from Holland saying, "that was the plane you were on".
"It's very, very sad. You can feel for the families who are left behind, to have your family swept away like that," Mrs Janssen said.
"It’s terrible that can happen. I got quite emotional yesterday about it."
Mr Amsing said that he had watched the plane's progress across Europe on the TV screens inside the plane.
He said they flew over the exact spot where the doomed plane was shot down.
Mrs Janssen said her grand-daughter-in-law flew regularly on the MH17 route between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.
Another Bendigo woman of Dutch background, Liesbeth van Emmerik, said she was due to fly to Holland in a few days.
Even though she is flying Qantas and Emirates, Mrs Emmerik said her friends were still concerned.
"They are worried for me to go overseas," Mrs Emmerik said.
She said the Dutch were being "very careful" to not place blame yet.
"They’re very politically right, they don’t blame anyone until they’re sure. They wait until they have got the full information.
"The Dutch are very good at international communication."
She said Dutch authorities at Schiphol Airport had arranged a place away from the airport for families of the 193 deceased Dutch citizens to be cared for.
Mrs Emmerik had a theory as to why there were so many children on board the flight.
"Dutch families usually travel with the whole family," she said.
Mrs Emmerik said Dutch flags all over Holland were being flown at half mast and church services were taking places across the country.