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Indiana Doctoral Student Among Malaysian Plane Crash Victims

Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a doctoral student at Indiana University, and a decorated member of the rowing team. (Credit: Indiana University)

Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a doctoral student at Indiana University, and a decorated member of the rowing team. (Credit: Indiana University)

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By Todd Feurer

CHICAGO (CBS) – A doctoral student and decorated former rower at Indiana University was among the 298 people killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday.

Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a doctoral student in the chemistry department at IU, and had received her masters degree from the university, according to a statement from IU President Michael McRobbie.

“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,” 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.”

Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a decorated member of the rowing team at Indiana University in 2011. (Credit: Indiana University)

Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a decorated member of the rowing team at Indiana University in 2011. (Credit: Indiana University)

Keijzer, a native of the Netherlands, was on the IU varsity rowing team in 2011, earning Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete honors as well as Academic All-Big Ten accolades. She also participated in the European Rowing Junior Championships in 2006 and the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2007.

“The Indiana Rowing family is deeply saddened by the news of Karlijn’s sudden passing,” Indiana head rowing coach Steve 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.”

U.S. officials have said it appears Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was headed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a missile over Ukraine, but both sides in the fighting in southeastern Ukraine are denying responsibility.

Experts say the crash scene, and the fact that the MH17 crew did not radio a distress signal, appear consistent with a ground-to-air missile attack.

Russia, which has been supporting the pro-Russian separatists in the region, denied any responsibility.

Ukraine’s government is accusing the rebels of shooting down the plane with a Russian-made missile system.