MH17 flight attendant Angeline Premila Rajandran: 'She loved her job'

Family in Malaysia says 30-year-old stewardess had had job for 10 years, and priority now is for her body to be brought home

Malaysia Airlines flight stewardess Angeline Premila Rajandran, 30, loved flying and travelling so much that she joined the company at 20 and never looked back.

"It was her first and only job," said Murphy Govind, 29, of his older sister, who was working as a flight attendant on the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur MH17 flight when it was shot down over the Ukraine-Russian border early Friday morning.

"She loved travelling and loved what she was doing. We were all so happy for her, the whole family, that she'd got the job she wanted just out of university."

Angeline, described as a bubbly, outgoing person who had lots of friends and was very close with her family, often graced the airline's in-flight magazines as a model and would promote the company at events.

Often away from her two younger brothers and parents, who live in Klang, a city one hour southwest of the capital Kuala Lumpur, Angeline would keep in touch through social networking apps like WhatsApp, where the whole family would talk together in "group chats".

"There was only one year difference between us so we grew up literally together – the same nursery, the same kindergarten, and we had many mutual friends," said Murphy. "Probably we drifted apart when we started working because we had different work lives – she was always travelling and I was here in Malaysia, but I know we were still close."

The family grew worried about Angeline's safety a few months ago, after flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens without a trace 8 March, and told their only daughter as much.

"She was worried too, of course she was worried," added Murphy, who works in the family's manufacturing business. "But she loved her job and never complained."

Angeline had flown to Amsterdam many times before and would usually return home after her international flights by shuttle bus – so the family was surprised to receive a late-night phone call indicating that something was wrong. "My father got a call at about 4am saying my sister was confirmed on the [MH17] flight but that the flight hadn't landed yet. But that flight should have landed at 6am," said Murphy, saying his family was confused by the information shared with them.

It was only later, when a friend who also works for Malaysia Airlines called to confirm that Angeline was on the crew list, that the family understood the plane had crashed.

"Her last message to us was a message to my brother, [saying] 'Please look after my dog,'" a newly-adopted four-month old beagle named Lexi.

Murphy is silent as the beagle barks in the background. "She was taken away from us and we hope she is in good hands," he said slowly of his sister, the only time during our conversation that he spoke of her in the past tense.

"I don't know how to say this, we just hope that she's happy. Our main priority is just to bring her back to Malaysia, bring her back home – that's what we wish for."


Kate Hodal in Kuala Lumpur

The GuardianTramp

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