July 23rd, 2014
02:21 PM ET

Mother of Two MH17 Victims Regrets Not Heeding Son's Fears

The mother of two brothers killed in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 told CNN she regrets not taking her youngest son's fears about the flight more seriously.

Ten-year-old Miguel Calehr died alongside his older brother Shaka, 19, when the Malaysia Airlines jet came down in Ukraine, close to the border with Russia, last Thursday.

The pair were on their way to the Indonesian island of Bali for a fun-filled holiday with their grandmother.

Their middle brother, Mika, 16, was supposed to be on the flight too, but it was fully booked, and he had to take a seat on a later plane.

Just hours before the flight was to depart for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Miguel told his mother he was nervous.

"After entering the passport [line], he came back to me and said 'Mama, I love you. I'm happy to see Oma [Grandma], but I'm going to miss you,'" Samira Calehr told CNN.

Then, she said, he asked her, "'What happens when the plane will crash?'

"I said, 'Come on, don't be silly, you've been traveling already so many times. Everything's going to be OK.'"

It was the sort of pre-flight fear many travelers will be familiar with, brushed off by a casual remark parents all over the world are used to making.

But single mom Calehr says she now wishes she'd paid more attention to his worries: "If I could just turn back time. I didn't listen to him. I don't know, I have no words to say..."

Still stunned by the tragedy which has overtaken her family, she pleads: "Why didn't they take my life? They are still young, they still have a future. Why? Why the children? Why not me?"

Samira's brother Harun told CNN his nephew Mika was being "very brave" - like his mother and grandmother.

"It comes in waves," he explained. "One minute they're completely distraught and inconsolable, and the other minute they're smiling and reminiscing and talking about the fun things that the boys did: the good things, the fun times, the memories."

Harun said the boys were good students. "They worked hard, they were honest, they were fun to be around." Above all, he said, "they were such a blessing to my sister. ... They were a joy to her, and the reason for her being."

The boys' grandmother, Yasmine Calehr, said the family was heartbroken: "Everybody is crying, everybody is losing something that belonged to them, but we feel like we have lost ourselves as well."

Harun said they were now focused on ensuring the boys' remains are repatriated to the Netherlands, where they can be given a proper farewell.

"As devastating as this process has been, we would like to have a grave, something to put into a grave... some remains or possibly the bodies intact to come home," he said.

Mika, now the only surviving son, told CNN he has lost his "best friends" but insists the bond he has with Miguel and Shaka will go on beyond the grave.

"It feels like they're already one with me now," he said. "They're my best friends, they're my brothers, and I feel like they're going to watch over me forever."

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July 23rd, 2014
02:06 PM ET

See Chris Cuomo Challenge RT Anchor

What is propaganda and what is fact when it comes to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 investigation? Depends on who you ask.

"New Day’s" Chris Cuomo and Russia Today’s Peter Lavelle debated the question in a conversation that ended up offering more heat than light.

"You are obsessed with clearing Russia from culpability. That's okay," Cuomo said.

"I am focused on talking about … how this plane and its victims were treated."

The host of RT's show "Crosstalk"  maintained that it was 'ludicrous' for Cuomo to ask why Russia hadn't condemned the treatment of the crime scene in eastern Ukraine, and told Cuomo he sounded like a representative for the U.S. State Department.

The conversation grew louder and more contentious as it went on.

In the end, Cuomo apologized to the audience after the interview saying "the emotion sometimes gets the better of you ... I apologize for getting involved with what became more about emotion than reason there for a moment."

What do you think? Is Russia Today simply toeing the party line despite the evidence? Or is it too soon to pass judgment?


RELATED: Propaganda war: Russia offers alternate takes to what brought down MH17

RELATED: Sara Firth: RT was 'pushing a narrative'

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Filed under: News • Videos • World News
Five Things to Know for Your New Day – Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Flowers in the Netherlands commemorate the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash.
July 23rd, 2014
12:16 AM ET

Five Things to Know for Your New Day – Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The first bodies from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane are due to arrive in the Netherlands. The FAA warns airlines to avoid Israel. And Obamacare wins one and loses one in the courts.

It's Wednesday, and here are the "5 things to know for your New Day."