Watch CBS News

Grandfather Of American Killed In Malaysia Airlines Crash Speaks To CBS 3

By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Quinn Schansman is the only known American victim in the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Ukraine (see related stories).

Schansman's grandfather, Ronald Schansman, is in the U.S. visiting his sister in Woodbury, New Jersey.

He shared with CBS 3 the family's pain in the wake of this incredible tragedy.

Schansman says he last saw his grandson after Easter, and never could have imagined that would be the last time he would see him alive.

"Big boy, very lively, and we all will miss him," he said.

While the world mourns the loss of the 298 lives lost on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, no one feels the pain more than Ronald Schansman, the doting grandfather of the only American killed in the crash.

He recalls the moment he received the heartbreaking phone call from 19-year-old Quinn Schansman's father.

"He told me that Quinn was on this flight, one of his son's, terrible news of course," he said.

Quinn Schansman was born in Fort Lee, N.J. to Dutch parents. He lived in the U.S. for five years before moving to Holland with his family. Quinn was a dual citizen of the United States and the Netherlands.

He was studying at the University of Amsterdam.

The doomed Malaysian Airlines flight was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a surface to air missile over hostile territory in eastern Ukraine.

"It's so useless, it's so senseless what happened,"  Schansman said. "You realize there is also fate that you cannot escape. Pure fate."

While Quinn and 297 other souls on board weren't able to escape this tragic fate, there's little solace for Ronald Schansman and his family, now left to mourn a young life cut far too short.

"As a grandparent you just hope that none of the children or grandchildren will go before you and now it has happened," he said.

Quinn Schansman was set to head from Kuala Lumpur to Indonesia to meet up with his family for vacation.

CBS 3 is told the family is all gathering in Holland now trying to come to grips with an inexplicable loss.

Must Read Today's Top Stories

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.