Employees of Royal Dutch Shell plc and ExxonMobil Corp. were reported to be among the 298 victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down by a missile fired by unknown assailants over Ukraine on Thursday.
In a statement Friday, Shell Malaysia confirmed that an unspecified number of its employees were on board the flight, which had departed Amsterdam and was headed to Kuala Lumpur.
"After a review of traveler records and airline manifests, we now have confirmation from authorities and family members that Shell staff were aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, which went down in Ukraine while travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur," the subsidiary said. "However, we are still working on a definitive list of employees and are unable to provide further information at this point in time.
"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our colleagues and friends, and we mourn their loss and the loss of the lives of everyone on board Flight MH17. Shell is providing support to the families of our employees to help them through this time of grief. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of all the passengers and crew on board Flight MH17."
The flight originated from Schiphol Airport, southwest of Amsterdam. Shell's global headquarters is located in The Hague, less than 28 miles from the airport.
Alan Jeffers, spokesman for ExxonMobil, told NGI that one of the company’s employees was also killed.
“ExxonMobil was saddened to learn that our employee Karamjit Singh was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17,” Jeffers said Friday. “We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and co-workers, as well as the many other families impacted by this tragedy.
“Karamjit was a dedicated and long-serving employee and had 29 years of service to ExxonMobil. We are in close contact with Karamjit’s family and are providing support and assistance.”
U.S. officials said Friday that preliminary intelligence indicates that a surface-to-air missile was responsible for bringing down the aircraft, but it was unclear from where the missile was fired and by whom. The plane was shot down in territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine, Russia and the pro-Russian separatists have all denied shooting down the plane and are blaming each other for the crash.