Montreal Dutch community left reeling following MH17's crash

Photo courtesy the Associated Press

The local Dutch community has been left devastated by the news emerging from Ukraine.

Almost 200 Dutch citizens were aboard Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 when it was shot down yesterday.

The Netherlands' honourary consul in Montreal Michael Polak can't believe how suddenly tragedy can strike.

He says the 3,000 to 4,000 people of Dutch descent around Montreal never expected something like the Flight MH17 disaster to strike them.

"Just a week ago we were celebrating Holland's fantastic performance in the World Cup and that had us going for a month," he says. "And here we are just a week later, with this unexpected tragedy coming out of nowhere. We're reeling."

He adds that the community is coming together in grief.

"We've had some conversations just to commiserate with each other if nothing else," he says. "Your first reaction is shock. I suppose a later reaction will be anger."

He says he does not yet know if anyone around Montreal has lost family members.

He adds that he is considering planning a memorial service for the 189 Dutch citizens who died.

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