UK & World News

  • 18 July 2014, 21:30

Dad Hears Of Son's Jet Death On Football Site

The father of a young British football fan on board the flight shot down over Ukraine said he found out his son was among the victims on the internet.

Barry Sweeney said he was "hurt" to have learned the news from the Newcastle United Fan Club website.

He had spent Thursday night trying to get through to official sources on "emergency lines".

Liam Sweeney, who worked night shifts at Morrisons, was travelling with friend John Alder, in his 60s, to see Newcastle United's pre-season tour in New Zealand when the crash occurred.

The 28-year-old would have been known to many fans during his time volunteering as a steward on supporters' buses to away games.

Asked how he found out, his father told Sky News that he found out the NUFC website, which posted condolences.

He said: "I got a text last night off a friend, saying they'd heard something about a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, not really thinking much about it. Then I put Sky News on and was watching that.

"I rang a couple of numbers, spoke to a Malaysian lady?to be honest with you, a Geordie and a Malaysian lady trying to interact was a little bit difficult, but I gave her my number, hoped somebody would get back to us but they didn't.

"There was a number to text which I tried, nothing there. So basically I found out on NUFC.com this morning.

"It was impossible to believe, even when the police came this morning I thought he might have had too much to drink and he didn't get on the plane but they confirmed that he was on the plane."

Mr Sweeney added that his son was a "big friendly giant" who loved football "probably more than anything" but "was always there if you needed him".

In a separate interview the 52-year-old questioned whether he would want to go to the crash site.

"Is it worth it to see what I don't really want to see?" Mr Sweeney said.

Advertisement