Malaysian airliner, 298 on board blown out of the sky over Ukraine

Malaysian PM calls for probe as US intelligence agencies confirms MH17 was hit by a missile.


Afp/web Desk/reuters July 17, 2014

MOSCOW: A Malaysian passenger airliner with 298 people on board crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border, Interfax cited an aviation industry source as saying on Thursday.

It said the Boeing 777--200 plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when the Ukrainian air traffic control lost contact with it near the eastern city of Donetsk.

The plane appeared to have come down in a region of military action where Ukrainian government forces are battling pro-Russian separatists for control.

Sources have quoted the Ukraine Interior Ministry has saying that all souls on board have been killed, however, an official confirmation is yet to be made. Eyewitnesses at the scene though painted pictures of destruction and bodies strewn everywhere among a smattering of passports found intact.

The exact cause behind the plane's crash though was unclear amid reports that some rebels had used surface-to-air missiles to target a plane they mistook for a Ukranian transport. The rebels though have denied involvement.

The incident comes four months after a Malaysian Airlines plane, MH370, went missing less than 90 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014.



2:20am, July 18

Addressing a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that while Malaysia was unable to verify the cause of the tragedy, "no stone can be left unturned" in trying to find out what happened to MH17, BBC reported.

"If it transpires that the plane was shot down, we insist the perpetrators be swiftly brought to justice," Razak said, adding that the aircraft did not make a distress call before contact was lost.

Referring to the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines MH370 earlier this year, Razak said, “this is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia."

Razak said he has spoken to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who said he would negotiate with rebels to establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site.

The Malaysian premier, who had rushed to the emergency operation centre when news broke of the plane going down, said that an international team must have full access to the crash site.

"And no one should interfere with the area, or move any debris, including the black box," he urged.

Meanwhile, Razak said Malaysia was dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as a medical team.

Speaking at a press conference at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, an airport official said there were 283 passengers and 15 crew members were on board.

A statement from Malaysian Airlines said there were 154 Dutch passengers on board the plane. Also 45 Malaysians (including the 15 crew and two infants) 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians (including one infant), nine Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines and one Canadian. Nationalities of 41 other passengers have yet to be determined with reports suggesting they include 23 Americans.

1:55am, July 18

US intelligence agencies confirmed that the Malaysian Airlines MH17 was hit by a surface-to-air missile, The Wall Street Journal reported.

However, sources did not comment whether the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces or pro-Russia separatist rebels.

A radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before MH17 was shot down, while a second signature saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, a senior US official told CNN.

Other senior US officials told CNN that at the moment US has “nothing to substantiate” Ukraine’s claims that pro-Russian separatists shot down the plane.

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12:25am, July 18



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11:58pm


Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Emergency Ops Centre; receiving updates regarding the MH17 crash.

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11:45pm

The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev offered his condolences over the “crash” of Malaysian Airlines MH17.
Deep condolences over the crash of Malaysian airlines in the sky over the Ukraine. This tragedy claimed the lives of several hundred people from different countries. And became a great sorrow for all those who lost today their relatives. I grieve for the dead.

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11:35pm

Chinese Embassy in Malaysia said that no report of Chinese citizen onboard MH17 flight, Xinhua News reported.

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11:24pm

US President Barack Obama says for US the first priority is to see if their citizens were on board.



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11:00pm

Extending sympathies to the families and friends of the passengers and crew of MH17, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said, based on the information currently available it is believed that the airspace that the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.

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10:53pm

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has returned to the Netherlands to monitor the situation after the crash of the plane of a Malaysia Airliner over Ukraine. Rutte is already been in contact with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

'I am deeply shocked by the tragic news about the crash of flight MH17 Malaysia Airlines from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian territory. Still very much is unclear about the facts, circumstances and the occupants. I have just spoken with the Ukrainian president. I am On my way back to the Netherlands from The Hague to monitor the situation and continue to act. Our thoughts are now looking forward to the occupants, their family and friends,'' said the Prime Minister.

Rutte had gone for a summit of European Union in Brussels on Wednesday. From there he went on vacation.

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10:34pm



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10:25pm

Airliners avoiding the Ukrainian airspace include Lufthansa, Air France, Trans Aero, Air Astana and Turkish Airlines.

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10:02pm

A separatist rebel from nearby Krasnyi Luch who gave his name only as Sergei said: "From my balcony I saw a plane begin to descend from a great height and then heard two explosions. He denied the rebels had shot the plane down. "This could happen only if it was a fighter jet or a surface-to-air missile (that shot it down)," he told Reuters, saying the rebels did not have weapons capable of shooting shoot down a plane at such a height.

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9:45pm

Malaysia Airlines has released a statement regarding the disappearance of flight MH17.
Malaysia Airlines confirms it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT) at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.

Flight MH17 operated on a Boeing 777 departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm (Amsterdam local time) and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 am (Malaysia local time) the next day.

The flight was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew onboard.

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9:38pm

Russia's UN envoy has denied involvement.

"We didn't do it," Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

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9:35pm



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9:34pm

Putin, Obama discussed Malaysian plane crash, reports from Kremlin.

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9:32pm

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday that the ailrine may have been shot down.

"We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky," Poroshenko said in a statement posted on the president's website.

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9:26pm

Eastern Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai denies involvement in shooting down the Malaysian airliner. Alleges Ukrainian government forces shot it down.

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9:21pm



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9:20pm

According to Reuters, Emergency Ministry official on site says body parts scattered around up to 15 km from crash site, at least 100 bodies seen.

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9:18pm

According to the office of the Ukrainian president, they have launched an investigation into the MH17 inicdent.
President of Ukraine on behalf of the State expresses its deep and sincere condolences to the families and relatives of the victims of this terrible tragedy. Made all possible search and rescue activities.

The Head of State appealed to the Cabinet of Ministers in order to urgently established the State Commission for the Investigation of the incident in order to properly investigate the causes of this tragedy. The President proposed to involve the Commission experts from ICAO and other international organizations, as well as representatives of the Netherlands and Malaysia.

Sure that the perpetrators of this tragedy will be brought to justice

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9:15pm

Ukrainian armed forces not involved in Malaysian passenger plane being brought down, Interfax quotes presidential press service according to Reuters.

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9:10pm

Ukrainian Prime Minister Areseny Yatseniuk ordered an investigation into the "airplane catastrophe" in eastern Ukraine, his spokeswoman Olga Lappo said on Thursday.

A Ukrainian interior ministry official earlier said 295 people onboard the Malaysian passenger airliner died when it came down.

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8:50pm

An aviation source told Reuters that the plane was found burning on the ground in eastern Ukraine.



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8:45pm

Malaysia Airlines said on Twitter that they have lost contact of MH17 with Amsterdam.



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8:40pm

A separate unnamed source in the Ukrainian security apparatus, quoted by Interfax, said the plane disappeared from radar at a height of 10,000 metres after which it came down near the town of Shakhtyorsk.

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8:30pm

Interfax has said the Boeing plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The Interfax report said the plane came down 50 km short of entering Russian airspace. It "began to drop, afterwards it was found burning on the ground on Ukrainian territory," the unnamed source said.

The plane appeared to have come down in a region of military action where Ukrainian government forces are battling pro-Russian separatists.

COMMENTS (20)

Rex Minor | 7 years ago | Reply

@Joan: , le The American President has said more than that declaring that it was shot down over Ukrain territory and due to Russian support for the separatist who are being supplied the weaponry including the surface to air missiles, before even the investigations have commenced. He is asking Germany to join in, in imposing sanctions against Russia. The German chanceller curt response, let the investigations begin by the International team of experts.

Rex Minor

Timorlane | 7 years ago | Reply

Such incidents have ocurred in the past too for example: An Iran Air Flight 655 an Iran Air civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes on 3 July 1988. The attack took place in Iranian airspace, over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, and on the flight's usual flight path. The aircraft, an Airbus A300 B2-203, was destroyed by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the Vincennes. All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, died.

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