Two Newcastle United fans onboard tragic Malaysia flight

A piece of a plane with the sign

A piece of a plane with the sign "Malaysia Airlines" lies in the grass as a group of Ukrainian coal miners search the site of a crashed Malaysian passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard.

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TWO Newcastle United fans were among nearly 300 people who died when the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was reportedly shot down over the Ukraine.

The pair - named on social media as John Alder and Liam Sweeney - were among nine Britons who are known to have died when the aircraft crashed in eastern Ukraine yesterday.

They are believed to have been making their way to New Zealand to watch the Magpies on their pre-season tour.

John, from Gateshead, who was believed to be in his 60s, was known to fellow fans as ‘The Undertaker’, because he always wore a dark suit.

He had only missed one game in more than 40 years, and had travelled all over the world to watch Newcastle United.

He was travelling with Liam Sweeney, 28, believed to be from Newcastle.

They were on their way to New Zealand for Newcastle’s pre-season friendlies in Dunedin on Tuesday and Wellington next Saturday.

A statement on fans’ website said: “Our thoughts are with their friends, families and the many fans who knew them by sight.

“Watching Newcastle will never be the same again.”

Tributes were also left on Sunderland FC forums.

Brexit said: “Always resonates more when people do not return from going to watch their team play. RIP.”

Jackal said: “Brings home the tragedy really, travelling to support the team they passionately followed. RIP to them and the other victims.”

Rickybilly said: “Awful news. Thoughts go out to their friends and families, very sad.”

A total of 298 passengers and crew were on board the Boeing 777-200, which was shot down over the war-torn country as it travelled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

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