WHEN former St Mary’s Gunnedah boarder Carol Clancy and her husband Michael booked their trip of a lifetime, her sister Val Kelly asked if she was nervous flying Malaysia Airlines after the disappearance of a flight earlier this year.
“Carol said they had already paid for it – and anyway, these things don’t happen twice,” Mrs Kelly said from her Gunnedah home yesterday. This time, lightning did strike twice.
The Clancys, both retired teachers from Kanahooka, south of Wollongong, were on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine on Friday.
Mrs Clancy left with her sister an exciting itinerary with words on the final page that will echo forever: “Home sweet home!”
Mrs Kelly could not get through on the helpline to hear news of her sister, and said it took nearly all day for her brother-in-law to find out that Mr and Mrs Clancy had been aboard the flight.
She said she was still numb over the news her little sister, aged 64, would not be coming home.
The couple had booked their European holiday of a lifetime some time ago. They had flown into Amsterdam before going to Germany, France, Switzerland, spending Carol’s birthday in Norway, and then back to Amsterdam.
They had flown first-class to help with Michael’s discomfort from back problems, and were in seats 2A and 2C on the flight to Malaysia.
Carol and Val Jackson were both born in Barraba. Carol was a twin and they were born on a freezing day. Her twin only lived a short while.
Val first attended St Mary’s Gunnedah as a boarder in 1954. Her sister followed 10 years later, and boarded at St Mary’s for her high school years.
St Mary’s principal Max Quirk said yesterday the school had held a short prayer service to remember the 298 people who had died on the flight.
He said there were also students who had been friends with three of the youngest victims: Perth children Mo, Otis and Evie Maslin.
“It’s very distressing for the children who knew the little children in Perth,” Mr Quirk said.
He said counselling was available for those who needed it .
– Namoi Valley Independent