IU doctoral student on board Malaysian flight

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — A former Indiana University rower was one of 298 people killed on the Malaysia Airlines flight that was downed in the Ukraine on Thursday, an IU spokesperson confirms.

Twenty-five-year-old Karlijn Keijzer was on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Keijzer was a doctoral student in the chemistry department in the College of Arts and Sciences, officials with IU say. She was from Amsterdam, Netherlands.

In a release from the university Friday, IU President Michael A. McRobbie said:

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. 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.

Debashis Adhikari, a colleague who worked with Keijzer for three years, says she was always an encouragement in the lab. Adhikari said Keijzer was looking forward to her short vacation before fall classes started again. Adhikari is one of many Hoosiers who is still in shock over the loss.

” I still cannot imagine missing her. I still believe in my heart that fall semester will start and she will come back from vacation,” said Adhikari.

The chair of the chemistry department, David Giedroc, remembered Keijzer as a dedicated student.

“I wish we had more students like her. A delightful young lady,” said Giedroc.

Giedroc said Keijzer was working on research for what she hoped would be the cure for Alzheimer’s. Geidroc said Keijzer made a lasting impression on the university and the chemistry department.

“Right off the bat she struck me as very confident. Passionate about science and sport at the same time,” said Geirdroc.

Keijzer was a member of the women’s rowing team during the 2011 season. University officials say she earned Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Scholar-Athlete honors and Academic All-Big Ten accolades after the season. She also competed in international rowing championships in 2006 and 2007.

Karlijn Keijzer was part of the IU women's rowing team in 2011 (Indiana University Photo)
Karlijn Keijzer was part of the IU women’s rowing team in 2011 (Indiana University Photo)

Indiana head rowing coach Steve Peterson also issued a statement in Friday’s release from IU:

The Indiana Rowing family is deeply saddened by the news of Karlijn’s sudden passing. 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.

Peterson told 24-Hour News 8 he’s still trying to process the fact that Keijzer is gone.

“Obviously when it happened, you hear it and its definitely surreal. I mean she was 25 probably. Just seeming like there was so much in front of her. It’s just hard to believe,” said Peterson.

The Associated Press reports the 298 people on board were from at least 12 countries. The nationalities of those on board, based on information from the airline and relevant governments include:

  • Netherlands: 189
  • Malaysia: 44 (including 15 crew and two infants)
  • Australia: 28
  • Indonesia: 12 (including one infant)
  • United Kingdom: 9
  • Germany: 4
  • Belgium: 4
  • Philippines: 3
  • United States: 1
  • Canada: 1
  • New Zealand: 1
  • Hong Kong: 1
  • Unconfirmed: 1
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