MH17: Western Sydney men confirmed dead

Two western Sydney men are among the 298 people killed on board the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, shot down while flying through Ukraine air space last week.

MH17 victims Victor Oreshkin (left), of Berala, and Jack O'Brien, (right) who worked at Fitness First at Carlingford.

MH17 victims Victor Oreshkin (left), of Berala, and Jack O'Brien, (right) who worked at Fitness First at Carlingford.

Berala man Victor Oreshkin and former Model Farms High School student Jack O’Brien were among the 28 Australians killed on the flight.

MH17 victim Victor Oreshkin was named in the downed plane's passenger manifest. Source: Facebook.

MH17 victim Victor Oreshkin was named in the downed plane's passenger manifest. Source: Facebook.

Mr Oreshkin, who was devoted to the Lidcombe Slavic Evangelical Pentecostal Church and was involved in the ministry at the church, left Sydney on June 17 for a five-week European holiday.

And Mr O’Brien, 25, a Carlingford gym employee, was also flying home after enjoying a seven-week trip in Europe.

Comments on social media said Mr O’Brien would be remembered to his family and friends as ‘‘the life of the party’’, a man with a ‘‘big heart’’ and having an ‘‘insane passion for life’’.

All who knew him were ‘‘devastated’’, they said. 

‘‘The life of our beloved son and brother, Jack, has been ended so suddenly,’’ the family said in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

‘‘We are devastated at his loss, as are Jack’s extended family and friends. Jack, just 25 years old, was returning from a fantastic seven-week holiday in Europe. He was loved so much.’’

His friends have taken to Facebook to celebrate his life.

Matthew Lohin created a collage of pictures of Mr O’Brien throughout his years at Model Farm High School in Baulkham Hills and said his thoughts were with Mr O’Brien’s family.

‘‘Unfortunately one of my best friends on this earth was aboard flight MH17 went it went down yesterday," Mr Lohin said. 

‘‘Jack had an insane passion for life and improving the lives of everyone around him. He was incredibly stubborn and annoying at times, but he was MY mate. You will be missed buddy!’’

Mr O’Brien was a Western Sydney Wanderers supporter and a member of the Red and Black Bloc (RBB). 

The RBB took to their Facebook page to honour the 25-year-old. 

‘‘R.I.P to WSW member Jack O’Brien who perished on flight MH17. Our prayers are with his family and to all the families of those on flight MH17,’’ the Red & Black Bloc posted. 

Mr O’Brien’s sister, Bronwyn O’Brien, replied to the post: ‘‘My brother was a RBB foundation member and continued to come to every match through a debilitating struggle with reactive arthritis.  

‘‘He loved Western Sydney Wanderers with a passion and being a member was one of the highlights of his adult life. 

‘‘The Wanderers have provided so much joy to our whole family.’’ 

Model Farms High School principal Christina Bennet said although Mr O’Brien had graduated before her time at the school, he was well-liked by many of the teachers there.

‘‘He’s been exceptionally well remembered this morning as a fine young man  and an exceptional student,’’ she said.

A post on the school’s Facebook site offered condolences. 

‘‘The Model Farms High School community offers our sincere condolences to the O’Brien family on the loss of their son Jack in the Malaysian air disaster,’’ the post said.

‘‘Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all families of the victims of this senseless disaster. RIP Jack.’’

On June 10, Berala man Victor Oreshkin, a NSW Blues supporter, fishing enthusiast and former student of the Christian Community School at Regents Park posted online that he was looking forward to visiting Germany and Italy.

‘‘Germany first, then Lithuania, maybe Italy if it all works out,’’ he wrote.

‘‘Germany first, then Lithuania, maybe Italy if it all works out,’’ he wrote.

On Monday, Mr Oreshkin's former high school issued a statement saying the school’s prayers were with his family and that its flag would fly at half-mast this week in his honour. The school welcomed current and former students to leave flowers at the flagpole.

‘‘Victor was a popular student whose sudden death has been a great shock to the Regents Park Christian School community and his many school friends,’’ the statement said.

‘‘Victor’s short life was one that truly portrayed our vision for students of this school: “ know the Lord Jesus Christ, grow in Him and serve Him to their full potential.”

Mr Oreshkin was flying home from Germany where he had met up with his older brother Mark. As well as holidaying, they had been to a Christian Conference in Germany and been involved in evangelism work in Lithuania.

One of his last posts was a photo with the words: “Don’t regret knowing the people that came into your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad ones give you experience. The worst ones give you lessons and the best people give you memories.’’

A Facebook friend called Susan Mclean, who identified herself as Mr Oreshkin’s cousin, shared a photo from his page yesterday with the condolences: ‘‘May God give your family peace.’’

On July 21, Facebook friend Nicolas Bokov posted condolences from Paris and described Mr Oreshkin as ‘‘of Russian origin living in Australia,’’ who “died in the Boeing shot down by the Poutinistes”.

Another Facebook friend, Igor Denisov, said the deceased man’s Russian surname was found in the passenger manifest for MH17 and that he was a descendant of Russian emigrants from China.

Family friend and church pastor Alexander Minchenko said: ‘‘He was a really big part of the church so we really feel for his parents as well as for Victor.

‘‘He was really loved by everyone so it was a big shock for all of us.’’

This story MH17: Western Sydney men confirmed dead first appeared on Parramatta Sun.


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