Newcastle United fans killed on flight MH17

Newcastle United fans Liam Sweeney and John Alder were killed in a Malaysia Airline plane crash over Ukraine. They were on their way to support their team.

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Tributes planned for tragic football fans

John Alder and Liam Sweeney

Tributes will be paid today to two Newcastle United fans who were killed in the Malaysian Airlines crash.

John Alder and Liam Sweeney were travelling to watch their side on a pre-season tour of New Zealand when it happened.

Ahead of the side's opening league fixture against Manchester City there will be a minute's silence.

Fans will also give a round of applause on the 17th minute of the game, to mark the fact both men were travelling on flight MH17.

Newcastle fan's father can now 'look for closure'

The father of one of the Newcastle United supporters who died in the Malaysia Airlines plane crash has spoken of his relief at his body being returned to the region.

Liam Sweeney was travelling to New Zealand on flight MH17 when it was shot down in eastern Ukraine last month. His body was brought back to the North East last night. The victims of the crash will be remembered with a minute's silence at Newcastle's opening game on Sunday.

Read more: Minute's silence for Newcastle fans killed on flight MH17


Crash victim's body returns home

Liam Sweeney's body has been returned home to Tyneside Credit: Sweeney family

The body of one of the two Newcastle United supporters who died on board the Malaysian Airlines plane that exploded over Ukraine has been returned to the North East.

Liam Sweeney was travelling to New Zealand on flight MH17 when it crashed near the Russian border last month.

His body was flown back to the UK and brought back home to Tyneside by road earlier today (Thursday).

Newcastle to hold a minute's silence in memory of MH17 victims

Newcastle will pay tribute to two supporters killed on flight MH17 Credit: PA

There will be a minute's silence ahead of Newcastle's first Premier League game this season in honour of two fans who died on board flight MH17.

John Alder, 63, and Liam Sweeney, 28, were on the Malaysia Airlines flight to watch their heroes play two friendly games in New Zealand.

Tributes will be paid on Sunday August 17 at St James' Park before their match against Manchester City.

Captains Fabricio Coloccini and Vincent Kompany will lay wreaths at the centre circle before kick-off, accompanied by representatives from John and Liam's families.

Sunderland, whose fans showed their empathy with Newcastle despite their local rivalry by raising £33,000 for local good causes in memory of the men, will be represented by their ex-player Jimmy Montgomery.

A minute's silence will then be observed once both teams have entered the field.

The club will create a memorial garden and a community award in their memory as well.

Manchester City supporters will unveil a banner paying tribute to the two Newcastle fans.

More from ITV Football.

Body of Newcastle fan Liam Sweeney identified in Holland

The family of Liam Sweeney say they hope they can begin to grieve for him properly after confirmation that his body has been positively identified.

The Newcastle United fan was on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine last month. This afternoon, his family received confirmation that DNA tests carried out in the Netherlands had confirmed he was one of those returned to the country. His father, Barry, says they now want to get him back to the UK as soon as possible.

Barry Sweeney spoke to ITV News Tyne Tees.

Full report: MH17 family meets with Prime Minister

Barry Sweeney (red shirt), father of victim Liam Sweeney, is among those meeting the PM. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The family of Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney - who was killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash - has met the Prime Minister David Cameron today to discuss the investigation into the incident.

Barry Sweeney, Liam's father, together with his mother and other family members, left for London from Newcastle Central station early this morning for this afternoon's meeting.

They were also representing the family of John Alder, another fan who died on the flight.

Our correspondent Gregg Easteal joined the Sweeney famliy and has the hour-by-hour story of what was a difficult and emotional day.


  1. National

MH17: First victim is formally identified

Forensic experts have formally identified the first of 298 MH17 victims, AFP reported.

A woman whose daughter who is thought to have died on flight MH17 weeps at the site of the disaster. Credit: Reuters

A statement from the Dutch Government said: “The first victim of the flight MH17 disaster was identified.

"It's a Dutch citizen and the victim's family and mayor of where they lived have been informed.”

A team of 200 specialists are involved in the identification process but it could take months for it to be completed.

The Dutch are in charge of identifying all the victims from the July 17 disaster over rebel-held Ukraine, 194 of whom were Dutch nationals.

So far 227 coffins with the remains of people from 17 countries have been flown back.

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