Former Indiana University Grad Student Aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight

"She was just like the happiest, go-lucky person ever"

A Dutch former graduate student from Indiana University was a passenger on the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down Thursday in Ukraine, the head coach of the rowing team at Indiana University confirmed to NBC Chicago.

Karlijn Keijzer, a 25-year-old from Amsterdam, was a passenger on the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, according to head coach Stephen Peterson.

"The Indiana Rowing family is deeply saddened by the news of Karlijn's sudden passing," Peterson said. "She came to us for one year as a graduate student and truly wanted to pursue rowing. That year was the first year we really started to make a mark with the First Varsity 8 boat and she was a huge reason for it. She was a phenomenal student and loved IU so much that she stayed here after she earned her master's degree. Our condolences go out to her family and friends in this very tough time."

Keijzer's parents posted on her Facebook page that the young traveler was on the flight.

"Our beautiful, lively, brilliant daughter Karlijn was in the plane that crashed together with her boyfriend Laurens. We just received confirmation from Malaysian Airlines."

Keijzer was on the rowing team at Indiana University in 2010, teammate Amy Sanders told NBC Chicago.

"She was just like the happiest, go-lucky person ever," Sanders said. "So happy and just full of energy all the time."

Sanders, who lives in Chicago, said Keijzer was a frequent traveler.

"I just couldn't believe it," she said. "It's like our first teammate that we've lost."

Keijzer's bio on the team's website said she is one of three children and was a chemistry graduate student at the university.

"On behalf of the entire Indiana University community, I want to express my deepest sympathies to Karlijn's family and friends over her tragic death," Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie said. "Karlijn was an outstanding student and a talented athlete, and her passing is a loss to the campus and the university. Our hearts also go out to the families of all the victims of this senseless act."

A jet carrying 295 people crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, and a Ukrainian adviser said it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.

The founder of the Malaysian Club of Chicago said Thursday there may be some local connections to the victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash Thursday.

Dr. Kim Tee, who's also a Bridgeview podiatrist, told NBC 5 that he spoke with a Chicago woman via social media who believes she has a close friend from Chicago on the flight and is awaiting confirmation.

The full passenger list has not been released.

Tee says there's an estimated 500 Malaysian families and 2,000 students in the Midwest. He says many may have traveled back home this month for the Malaysian New Year celebration called Eid, which signals the end of the fasting period of Ramadan.

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