Grieving Relatives Gather at Ben-Gurion Airport

They arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport one by one, accompanied by friends or relatives. At the entrance to Terminal 2, they turned right, following the sign directing them to the "meeting area." This is where relatives of victims of the Siberia Airlines plane crash assembled yesterday.

They arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport one by one, accompanied by friends or relatives. At the entrance to Terminal 2, they turned right, following the sign directing them to the "meeting area." This is where relatives of victims of the Siberia Airlines plane crash assembled yesterday.

Ben-Gurion police and security teams spoke with the visitors, and took down details about their relatives, passengers who remained listed officially as "missing." The relatives were asked to furnish general descriptions. This done, they were referred to psychological care.

"These people need help," explained Ruth Baron, director of the Sela center, which provides assistance to immigrants in times of need. "And we try to provide it here at Ben-Gurion airport. In cases of those who haven't turned to us, we'll travel to them and offer help. All of them need help, be it financial aid to purchase plane tickets to go to the area of the crash, or even to obtain information about what happened."

Almost all of the friends and relatives learned about the tragedy from television broadcasts. Though they harbored little hope of finding survivors, they still spoke about their loved ones in the present tense.

"Masha is a very talented student in the electronics department at Tel Aviv University," said Osnat Inbar and Yuval Nahari, who helped Masha Bandman's family adjust to their new life when they came to Israel 12 years ago. Masha recently completed her second year of university studies in the IDF's special study-service program.

Yesterday Masha left to visit her grandparents in Novosibirsk. Just a few hours earlier, her mother Tanya, a professor of mathematics at Bar-Ilan University, had taken her to Ben-Gurion Airport. At 6 P.M., the mother returned to the same airport, to find out what she really already knew - that her daughter had been aboard the ill-fated plane.

"She was like our daughter," Inbar and Nahari said. "We hope that journeys taken by these people will be financed, that they will be helped as they travel to see what's left of the plane."

Layla Iakoupov, 28, was on her way to visit relatives in Novosibirsk. Her original flight had been booked for September 11, but was canceled due to the attacks in the U.S. She traveled with her 18-month-old son Michael. Her husband, Vadim, remained in Israel; he had wanted to travel as well in order to visit his parents, but was blocked from leaving the country because of debts. Thus, it turned out that Vadim stayed alive because he owes some money, whereas his wife and child perished off the Black Sea coast.

Gaguik Arzounian, 45, a truck driver from Holon, went to visit his daughter and new grandson in Russia. He immigrated to Israel just six months ago. Relatives at Terminal 2 yesterday expressed disbelief and dismay that his plans to see a grandchild for the first time were shattered so cruelly.

Tamara Peissakhova, 55, had come to Israel to visit her three young daughters, who live with their grandmother in Be'er Sheva. Vadim, a relative, said yesterday that she planned to sell her valuables in Novosibirsk, and finalize arrangements to immigrate to Israel. Her husband Yuri waited helplessly for her at the Novosibirsk airport yesterday.

Irina Starikovsky, 24, departed for Russia with plans to marry a local man. She studied music in Israel for two years, and hoped to convince her fiance to settle with her in Israel.

Julia Fronshtein and Svetlana Fronshtein from Pardes Katz also boarded the Siberia Airlines charter with the aim of visiting relatives in Russia. Yulia, 19, finished high school a few months ago, and was supposed to start service in the Israel Defense Forces soon. Her trip to Russia was to have been her last excursion prior to her two-year army stint.

A brother, Nikolai Fronshtein, learned about the tragedy via a Russian-language television broadcast. He chose not to make the trip to Ben-Gurion Airport. Friends made the journey for him, but they left the airport quickly, not wanting to leave the bereaved brother alone in his home.

Nikolai Fronshtein's actions were not unusual. Many relations of the crash victims opted not to travel to the airport and speak with airline authorities. Friends went to Terminal 2 in their stead.

"We worked together with him, in a moving company," explained friends of Yevgeni Oklinev from Lod. "He was traveling to meet his first wife, and spend time with his child. We knew immediately that he had been on the flight, and we understood there's not much that can be done now, but we'll at least try to help his family as much as we can."

Haisara Kamkha, 78, was traveling to visit a sick sister in Novosibirsk. Her daughter Olga deferred acknowledgement of the tragedy for some time, trying to believe that her mother had been on a different flight. In the end, she was persuaded to go to Ben-Gurion Airport in a series of conversations with close friends. At Terminal 2 she was informed that her mother had indeed flown on the doomed Siberia Airlines flight.

After several sorrowful, useless hours at Terminal 2, many of the relatives and friends wearily traveled back to their homes. Shortly after 8:30 P.M., the west wing of Terminal 2 was back in normal operation. Some relatives remained clustered in a room at the terminal; they watched the television, trying to absorb as many details of the tragedy as possible.

Passenger list

Following are the names of the passengers on the doomed Siberian Airlines flight, according to Russian media reports. In addition, there were 12 crew members, not yet named.

1. Azbel D., Mr

2. Baskakova Y., Mrs

3. Belinitcher V., Mr

4. Berezhnaia N., Mrs

5. Bourlakov D., child

6. Bourlakov L., Mrs

7. Kheyfets Valery, Mr

8. Latouchkine N., child

9. Lejnina R., Mrs

10. Milostnykh N., Mrs

11. Nazarova L., Mrs

12. Netchai G., Mrs

13. Netchai E., Mr

14. Oklinev Yevgeni, Mr

15. Zolotko T., Mrs

16. Bukatova T., Mrs

17. Dikman S., Mr

18. Gorbluk N., Mrs

19. Gorbluk A., child

20. Gorkun V., Mr

21. Grygorvyh A., Mr

22. Isaev E., Mr

23. Kostryukov V., Mr

24. Oshkukova Ludmila, Mrs

25. Peissakhova F., Mrs

26. Raoukhverguer O., Mrs

27. Simanina N., Mrs

28. Zlotnikov D., Mr

29. Chekhovskaia G., Mrs

30. Denisova O., Mrs

31. Eschtchenko A., Mrs

32. Kalinovskiy V., Mr

33. Kazantseva M., Mrs

34. Koniaeva E., Mrs

35. Korchounova Maria, Mrs

36. Tushina Zinaida, Mrs

37. Zatvornitskaia E., Mrs

38. Zatvornitski N., Mr

39. Arzounian Gaguik, Mr

40. Bandman Masha, Mrs

41. Bazilevich Lubov, Mrs

42. Fedorov S., Mrs

43. Fronshtein Julia, Ms

44. Fronshtein Svetlana, Ms

45. Gorman B., Mr

46. Iakoupov L., Mrs

47. Kamerie Adi, Mrs

48. Kamkha Haisara, Mrs

49. Kouznetsov T., Mrs

50. Kovetskaya Zh., Mrs

51. Latouchkine O., Mrs

52. Lebedev R., Mrs

53. Magin I., Mrs

54. Magin D., child

55. Michelson I., Mrs

56. Moukhtarov Nazim, Mr

57. Nemtsov M., Mrs

58. Roussinov V., Mr

59. Rozenberg L., Mrs

60. Saveliev A., Mrs

61. Shaevich E., Mrs

62. Starikovsky Irina, Mrs

63. Yasvoin T., Mrs

64. Zeltser O., Mrs