Australian victims of MH17 disaster

Nine Victorians are among the 28 Australians killed in the MH17 plane disaster.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has confirmed the Victorian deaths.

"It is with deep regret that I can now confirm nine Australian nationals from Victoria are among those who have been killed in the MH17 tragedy," Dr Napthine said.

"I would again like to express my heartfelt sympathy for the families, friends and loved ones of these victims."

Dr Napthine said MH17 was due to connect with MH129 arriving in Melbourne on Friday evening.

"This is a sad and tragic day, not just for Victorians, but for all people and all nations. The shooting down of a passenger aircraft full of innocent civilians is an unspeakable act that will forever leave a dark stain on our history,'' he said.

"The Victorian government stands ready to provide assistance to affected families and to the Commonwealth following this tragedy."

He said as hosts of the International AIDS Conference his office had been in contact with conference organisers and has offered to co-operate with DFAT to provide assistance to any delegates who require support.

Dr Napthine said there may be a number of permanent Victorian residents, who hold foreign passports, killed in the disaster.

As a mark of respect all flags on Victorian government buildings will fly at half-mast on Friday and throughout the World AIDS conference.

“I think it will be a sombre note for the AIDS conference,’’ Dr Napthine said.

“This should be a reminder to all the people involved of the value of human life and the need to work twice as hard to make sure whether it’s from these sort of terrible terrible tragedies or whether it’s from the scourge of HIV/AIDS that we need to work twice as hard make life better for all people across the globe.’’

Counsellors and support staff have been made available by the Department of Human Services including at Melbourne Airport and Malaysia Airlines offices.

The Premier is due to attend AIDS conference functions on Sunday.

Among the Victorian victims confirmed dead are Melbourne couple Albert and Maree Rizk.

They were believed to have been returning from a month-long holiday in Europe.

The couple have two children and have lived in the Sunbury area for more than 20 years, where they were believed to be involved with a number of local sporting clubs.

One of Mr Rizk’s colleagues confirmed the couple’s family had been contacted by officials to notify them of their deaths.

Sunbury Football Club president Phil Lithgow told Fairfax Media that the Rizks were a major figures in the club community, which was shaken by their deaths.

“They were fantastic people, Albert was a committee member, sponsor of the club, Maree was a canteen helper, their son plays in our senior football team,” he said.

Mr Lithgow said the Rizks, who were both in their early 50s, were travelling with friends in Europe and were due back in Australia today.

“They were with friends and their friends got on an earlier flight,” he said.

Former University of Melbourne student Elaine Teoh was also killed in the crash.

Ms Teoh's brother David Teoh Qi-en posted the following statement on Facebook from Kuala Lumpur:

"At 3.39 today, I had confirmation from MAS that my sister is on board flight MH17, the plane that was shot down along Ukraine-Russia border.

"While I understand public opinions and comments on MH17, I urge my friends to remain wise and calm when talking about it and also keep my family and I in prayer as we are going through these tough times.

"Your prayers and thoughtfulness will be very much appreciated.”

The University of Melbourne said in a statement that it was shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of life of those aboard Flight MH17.

"We are especially saddened to hear reports that Elaine Teoh is among the dead. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time."

Ms Teoh graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2008.

Zack Jones, a friend of Ms Teoh’s, posted on Twitter on Friday morning: “I have no words ... I’ve just heard the news that my friend, @elaineteoh was on flight #MH17."

Among the other Australian victims were nine Queenslanders, Premier Campbell Newman has confirmed.

A Toowoomba pathologist and his wife are among the nine Queenslanders who were victims of the MH17 plane disaster.

Toowoomba pathologist Roger Guard died alongside his wife, Jill, on their way home from Europe. Dr Guard  was the director of pathology at the Toowoomba Base Hospital.

Further information about the Queensland victims, including their ages and where they lived, had not been made available as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was notifying next of kin.

Also confirmed dead is NSW nun Sister Philomene Tiernan, a Catholic nun and teacher at eastern Sydney Catholic school Kincoppal in Rose Bay.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett released a statement saying he is "horrified and deeply shocked" to hear about the crash and confirming there were seven West Australians on board.

Perth man Nick Norris and three of his grandchildren are among those seven victims.

While authorities are yet to confirm names of those on board, Fairfax Media understands Mr Norris' family - including his wife in Perth -  have been informed of deaths.

One ACT resident was also among the 27 Australian victims. Acting ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirmed the news but did not give further details. He said he understood the victim's family had been informed.

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