Ocean tribute for MH17 man

2014-07-23 00:00

SOUTH African officials have collected DNA samples from the grieving family of pilot Cameron Dalziel who died in the Malaysian Airlines crash last week.

The samples are to help identify his remains, which are being recovered as his family gather at his parents home in Umhlanga, Durban.

His family are planning a special paddle-out memorial for Dalziel to celebrate his love of the sea.

Dalziel (43), a helicopter pilot, was on his way home to Malaysia where he moved with his family last year to fly rig crews and emergency operations for major oil companies.

He was returning from the Netherlands where he had been on a fixed-wing airplane training course when the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine last Thursday.

Dalziel’s wife, Reine, and their two sons, Sheldon (14) and Cruz (4), flew into South Africa yesterday from Malaysia accompanied by some of Dalziel’s colleagues from the Canadian Helicopter Corporation.

Dalziel’s brother, Campbell Dalziel, described them as “numb”.

They have joined Dalziel’s parents, Meryl and Doug, and his sister Candice.

“We just want to get a sense of normality back,” said Campbell. “Then we will sit down as a family and plan what to do about a memorial service.”

On Monday, Pretoria-based consular official Alfred Brown and Brigadier Helena Ras, section head of the SAPS Victim Identification Centre, visited the Dalziel family in Umhlanga.

Ras took DNA swabs from Meryl and Doug to aid in identifying Dalziel’s body.

“She is so good at her job and my parents felt very comfortable with her.”

Dalziel said the family were grateful for the assistance they had received from the authorities.

Brown and Ras flew to the Netherlands yesterday taking the swabs and Dalziel’s dental records to identify his body.

A train with three refrigerated wagons for the 282 bodies removed from the crash site arrived in the Ukrainian government-held city of Kharkiv yesterday. They will be flown to Amsterdam. The Netherlands has the lead role in investigating the crash, as the majority of people killed were Dutch.

“At this stage, we don’t know if my brother’s body is among those that have been taken from the site,” said Dalziel.

Though no date has been set for a memorial service, Campbell Dalziel confirmed there will be a paddle-out in tribute to his brother after a memorial service.

The Dalziel family moved from Johannesburg to the coast, he said.

“My dad said Cameron loved the sea and loved the environment, and that the paddle-out would be a good way of remembering him.

“We live in Umhlanga and the sea was a big part of my brother.”

But the Dalziel family are mindful that they are not alone in their grief.

“It’s tough obviously,” said Dalziel. “We have lost my brother, but there are other families grieving all over the world. Over 290 people were victims — we send our condolences to their families as well.”

• Stephen.Coan@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.