100 Leading HIV/AIDS Researchers Killed on Malaysian Jet
July 18, 2014
An estimated 100 of the world’s leading HIV/AIDS researchers and activists were among the 298 people killed on a Malaysian passenger jet that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said.
The researchers were en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, set to begin Sunday.
The Sydney Morning Herald said those attending a preconference meeting in Sydney were told that around 100 of their colleagues were on the plane.
The plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashed yesterday. American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile brought the aircraft down in eastern Ukraine but it is not yet clear who fired it.
"There’s been confirmed a number of senior people who were coming out here who were researchers, who were medical scientists, doctors, people who’ve been to the forefront of dealing with AIDS across the world," Victoria Premier Denis Napthine told reporters in Melbourne. "The exact number is not yet known, but there is no doubt it’s a substantial number."
The former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange, MD, a well-known HIV researcher from the Netherlands, was believed to be among the dead, along with his wife and collaborator Jacqueline van Tongeren.