Not less than 295 people reportedly lost their lives in a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet which crashed as it flew over eastern Ukraine.
The aircraft, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur,
was travelling at an altitude of 10,000 metres when it was shot
down on Thursday, Russia’s Interfax reported.
An adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry told the news agency
the Boeing 777 was brought down by a Buk ground-to-air missile.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko denied his armed forces
were involved in the downing of the airliner.
“Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne
targets,” Poroshenko said.
Malaysian Airlines confirmed it had lost contact with flight MH17
from Amsterdam, saying the aircraft was carrying 280 passengers
and 15 crew on board.
“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
“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 statement said.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister reacted on Twitter saying: “I am
shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching
an immediate investigation.”
A flight tracking website showed that one flight path was
interrupted in Ukraine. The plane appeared to have come down in
a region of military action where Ukrainian government forces are
battling pro-Russian separatists.
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
Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow, said the
plane fell in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
“The investigation would be very difficult given that it’s controlled
by the rebels,” he said. “Ukrainian officials are saying that many
children were dead. Some are saying that all died. Reuters is
reporting that body parts were found at the scene. It seems that it
was a very gruesome scene.”
Airplane manufacturer Boeing released a statement expressing
sympathy to those affected by the crash.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those on board the Malaysia
Airlines airplane lost over Ukrainian airspace, as well as their
families and loved ones. Boeing stands ready to provide whatever
assistance is requested by authorities,” the statement read.
Prior to Thursday’s Malaysian Airlines crash, a Ukrainian SU-25
attack plane was taken down by an air-to-air missile according
Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s national defence and
Security Council. The pilot safely ejected.