herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Tragic Edel told mum 'I'll see you soon', but hours later her plane was shot out of the sky

The Dublin woman who died in the Malaysian Airlines disaster told her mother "I'll see you soon" before she left on her doomed journey.

Mother-of-two Edel Mahady was returning to Australia after a trip to Ireland where she was visiting her elderly mother when the plane in which she was travelling was downed, killing all 298 passengers and crew aboard Flight MH 17.

Mrs Mahady was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpar when the flight was blown out of the sky on Thursday.

Aged in her 50s, she was originally from Palmerstown, west Dublin, but had emigrated to Australia where she had started a new life a number of years ago.

Palmstertown parish priest Fr Tony Reilly said: "I did call to the family yesterday morning and we said a few prayers. They are grieving."

He said Mrs Mahady was "very attentive to her mother" and visited her a couple of times a year.

"She came frequently to visit," he told the Herald.

saddened

The dead woman had only left Dublin on Wednesday to return to Perth.

Fr Reilly said she grew up on Turret Road, and her husband, Dermot, is also from Dublin.

Mrs Mahady had been home for two weeks before the tragedy occurred.

She said goodbye to her mother, Monica Byrne, before leaving for the airport, saying: "I'll see you again."

Fr Reilly said the local community was deeply saddened by the tragedy.

Mrs Mahady, whose family in Palmerstown were too upset to make any comment last night, is the first cousin of the wife of Labour TD Willie Penrose.

The Longford/Westmeath deputy declined to comment.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan led tributes to Mrs Mahady and sent his condolences to her family who were last night grieving at her mother's home.

Mrs Mahady moved to Australia around 20 years ago and had two children with her husband.

She worked as a school administrator at the Good Shepherd Catholic School in Kelmscott which is located just outside Perth in Western Australia.

Palmerstown councillor Gus O'Connell said the entire community was in shock following the tragic news.

A family source said that members are "numb with shock and disbelief and grief. They can't believe it. They are grieving and greatly shocked and traumatised".

Independent representative Mr O'Connell said there is a "great bond" among family members.

devastated

An Australian nun with "deep roots in Ireland" was also named among the dead in the disaster.

Sister Philomena Tiernan was on the flight as she travelled home from a retreat in Paris.

Fr Tony Doherty, a long-standing friend, said: "Everyone who knew her was devastated by the news."

Mr Flanagan said last night that he wanted to convey his deepest sympathies to Mrs Mahady's family.

"I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the crash of flight MH17, and the sudden loss of almost 300 innocent lives," he said.

"My thoughts are with the families of all those around the globe who lost their lives in this tragic incident."

He added that he had briefly spoken with Mrs Mahady's family, and called for an independent international investigation to establish the cause of the tragedy.

"I would encourage all the authorities involved - and the parties to the conflict in Ukraine - to work together to ensure that the hundreds of families who have been bereaved can get the answers they need," he said.

Meanwhile, the embassy of the Netherlands in Dublin has announced that a book of condolences will be open for the public to sign on Monday and Tuesday from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm on both days.

escape

As the investigation into the crash continues, the families of some of the 10 British victims have angrily accused "Russian gangsters" of killing their loved ones in an "act of war" as evidence mounted that a missile supplied by Moscow brought down the flight.

They also demanded that the airline and the aviation authorities explain why the Boeing 777 was allowed to fly over a war zone where three military aircraft had been shot down in the previous four days.

In a lucky escape, two Irish-based Malaysian chefs not only saved €190 but also their lives with a last-minute change to their travel plans that saw them avoid boarding the ill-fated jet.

Zul Basir and Ujang Zunaidi Abidin, both of whom work at Cork's Ramen restaurant, last night spoke of their relief and gratitude after they unwittingly avoided travelling on the doomed plane.

Both were scheduled to fly to Kuala Lumpur to mark Ramadan with their families.

However, the pair realised only days before they were due to depart that they could save €190 each on the trip by switching to Emirates and flying home via Dubai instead.

hnews@herald.ie

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