THREE Australian children who died along with their grandfather on the Malaysia Airlines plane apparently shot downby pro-Russian rebels over eastern Ukraine were returning from a family holiday of a lifetime.

Mo Maslin, 12, his sister Evie, 10, and brother Otis, eight, from Perth, were among 80 child victims of the suspected missile strike on flight MH17 as they flew home from a trip to Europe with their grandfather, Nick Norris.

A total of 298 people died, including 10 victims from the UK, when the Boeing 777-200 was brought down on Thursday.

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Among them were Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, 28, who were travelling to New Zealand to watch the team's pre-season tour.

Glenn Thomas, 49, a press officer at the World Health Organization and a former BBC journalist; Loughborough University student Ben Pocock, and Leeds University student Richard Mayne, 20, from Leicestershire, were also on board. Another victim was helicopter rescue pilot and father-of-two Cameron Dalziel, who is understood to have been South African but travelling on a British passport.

About 100 passengers were delegates going to a conference on Aids in Melbourne, Australia - including leading researcher Joep Lange.

Relatives were seen in tears at both Schiphol airport in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur as they were told they would not see their loved ones again.

There were also 154 Dutch passengers killed, 45 Malaysians including 15 crew, 26 Australians, 12 Indonesians, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos, one Irish woman, one Canadian and one American on board. Three infants were among the dead.

More than 180 bodies have been located so far, according to emergency workers at the sprawling crash site.

Efforts by international investigators to begin examining the wreckage were reportedly hampered when they were stopped from entering the crash site by armed militants, along with members of the peacekeeping organisation and independent monitors.

The British Government has joined the United States in blaming pro-Russian separatists for the tragedy.

Downing Street said it appeared "increasingly likely" that the crash was the result of a surface-to-air missile fired from near the eastern Ukraine mining city of Torez, deep in pro-Russian rebel-held territory.

President Barack Obama said the crash was a "global tragedy" and demanded an immediate ceasefire to allow a full United Nations-led investigation.