Two Newcastle fans among passengers on ‘shot-down’ Malaysian plane

MALAYSIA AIRLINES ... a piece of the aircraft lies on the ground.
MALAYSIA AIRLINES ... a piece of the aircraft lies on the ground.

TWO Newcastle United fans were among nearly 300 people who died when the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in the Ukraine.

The pair - named on social media as John Alder and Liam Sweeney - were among nine Britons who are known to have died when the aircraft crashed in eastern Ukraine yesterday.

They are believed to have been making their way to New Zealand to watch the Magpies on their pre-season tour.

John, from Gateshead, who was believed to be in his 60s, was known to fellow fans as ‘The Undertaker’, because he always wore a dark suit.

He had only missed one game in more than 40 years, and had travelled all over the world to watch the Magpies.

He was travelling with Liam Sweeney, 28, believed to be from Newcastle.

They were on their way to New Zealand for Newcastle’s pre-season friendlies in Dunedin on Tuesday and Wellington next Saturday.

A statement on fans’ website said: “Our thoughts are with their friends, families and the many fans who knew them by sight.

“Watching Newcastle will never be the same again.”

A total of 298 passengers and crew were on board the Boeing 777-200, which was apparently shot down over the war-torn country as it travelled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.