Grieving Dutch want loved ones' bodies returned

Cor Pan and his girlfriend, Neeltje Tol, both died in the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. CBS News

AMSTERDAM - More than half the passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were from the Netherlands. And the Dutch are growing angrier at the tug of war over their loved ones' bodies.

The band mates of one victim tell CBS News they just want their friend back home.

Cor Pan was a member of the band Vast Countenance. Last Thursday, he boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Just before takeoff, Cor posted a picture on Facebook and wrote: "If we disappear, here's what the plane looks like." It was a joking reference to Malaysian Flight 370, which vanished in March.

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Cor Pan posted a joke about his Malaysia Airlines flight on his Facebook page.
CBS News

At that time, Cor's bandmates say, they thought it was hilarious.

But the laughter turned to shock with the news of the crash.

"He was just that kind of guy who would make you laugh in any situation," said Pascal Voorn.

His friends knew that with Cor was his longtime girlfriend, Neeltje Tol.

Anne Veerman is band's violinist.

"We can't imagine Cor without Neeltje. It's always been that way," she said.

The band is now remembering Cor, the musician and the man, as so many Dutch people are remembering their dead.

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Grieving Dutch have been placing flowers outside Amsterdam's airport.
CBS News

Mourners gathered outside Amsterdam's airport all day to place flowers and reflect on the disaster -- and the poisonous politics that have turned their loved ones' remains into a grim spectacle.

"The fact that political games are played while innocent people die and families are left behind," said Christian Veerman, another member of the band.

"For us there's only one thing that really matters," said Pascal. "And that is bring back our loved ones."

Only when Cor and Neeltje's bodies at last come home to the Netherlands will their friends be able to say their final goodbyes.

  • Elizabeth Palmer

    Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the "CBS Evening News."

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