THE body of one of the two Newcastle fans who died on board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 has now been identified, it emerged tonight (Tuesday, August 5).

The family of Liam Sweeney, 28, issued a statement through Northumbria Police confirming the positive identification of his body.

Mr Sweeney and fellow supporter John Alder, 63, both from Tyneside, had been travelling to New Zealand last month to watch their beloved Newcastle United play a series of pre-season friendlies when their flight was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine.

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"We are happy and relieved to be getting Liam home and hope that we can now move forward," said the statement from Mr Sweeney's family. "Our thoughts are with John Alder's family and the families of the other 296 victims.

"We would ask that we are given some time and privacy to grieve as a family."