Three children, a grandfather, an aerospace engineer, a school teacher and a Department of Agriculture employee were among seven West Australians on MH17.

The Perth couple who lost all three of their children in the Ukraine plane disaster had sent them home from a holiday in Amsterdam with their grandfather so they wouldn’t miss the start of the school term.

Keen sailor Nick Norris, 68, and his three grandchildren – 12-year-old Mo, Evie, 10, and Otis, eight – were among at least seven West Australians killed on the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Mr Norris, the managing director of management consulting firm Collaborative Systemic Change Pty Ltd, is survived by wife Lindy, a Murdoch University professor, and four children.

These include son Brack, who said his sister Rin Maslin and her husband Anthony Maslin had stayed behind in Amsterdam while Mr Norris brought his grandchildren home in time for the new school term.

The Australian consulate was arranging a flight home for them, he said.

“They were staying a few more days, which is why the kids were with my dad,” Brack Norris told ABC radio.

He said the news was shocking and difficult to believe.

South of Perth Yacht Club general manager David Harries said the club was an immense part of the family’s life. Mr Norris had been a member for 16 years and his grandchildren had joined recently.

“The members of SoPYC are shocked by this tragic, senseless loss,” Mr Harries said.

Other West Australians confirmed as being on the flight were a female Catholic school teacher and a male Department of Agriculture and Food employee.

Media reports name the man as Albany local Arjen Ryder, who was reportedly travelling with his wife Yvonne.

Also killed was German national Fatima Dyczynski, who previously lived in Perth and had returned to Amsterdam to continue her studies in aerospace engineering. She was coming back to the West Australian capital to live.

She had spoken to her parents, Mosman Park doctor Jerzy “George” Dyczynski and his wife Angela, just before the flight departed, saying she was excited to be coming back.

But she also said there had been a problem with boarding so her parents went to Perth Airport late on Friday afternoon, distraught but clinging to hope she hadn’t got on MH17.

Premier Colin Barnett said he was horrified and deeply shocked, and expressed his deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.

“At this stage, reports do seem to indicate that the plane was shot down by terrorists and, if so, this is a truly unspeakable – and incomprehensible – act,” he said.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said his thoughts and prayers were with those grieving.

The premier said people who had been affected by the tragedy could call the Department for Child Protection and Family Support on 1800 032 965 to access emotional and practical assistance.