Another Mystery of Malaysian Airlines
Those on board included nine British citizens, 154 Dutch passengers, 27 Australians, 43 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, four from Germany, four from Belgium, three from the Philippines, and one from Canada.
The aircraft departed from Amsterdam at 12.14am local time, 15 minutes later than scheduled, according to flight records.
It was expected to arrive in Malaysia at 6:10am local time, but did not enter Russian airspace when it was expected to, a Russian aviation source told Reuters.
Pictures and video coming from the scene show bodies burnt around the site of the crash amid the charred and burning wreckage of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which fell down near the town of Grabovo, about 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.
KIEV, Ukraine — President Barack Obama said Thursday the crash of a Malaysian Airlines plane in Ukraine “looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,” and he said efforts were underway to determine if any Americans were aboard.
An adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister earlier reported that a passenger plane carrying 295 was shot down.
The plane had 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board, read a Facebook post from Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.
The Boeing 777 was “shot down” over Ukraine by “terrorists” operating a Buk surface-to-air missile system, the post said.
“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,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, according to his website.
Details of the incident are quickly pouring in during the same week that Ukrainian officials said a Russian fighter shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane while the aircraft was in in Ukrainian airspace.
Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that it lost contact with Flight 17 and that the jet’s last known position was over Ukrainian airspace, the airline said on Twitter.
Reacting to the breaking story, CNN’s Richard Quest, an aviation expert, said that it would “extremely unusual” for an airliner at 32,000 feet to be shot down. From the ground, one could simply look up and tell whether a plane was a commercial aircraft.
“It looks like a commercial aircraft, it squawks a commercial aircraft. So something is absolutely appalling that’s gone on here,” he said.
Flight Radar 24 showed the plane disappearing near Kremenchuk, Ukraine.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted that an investigation will be launched immediately. “I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed,” he posted.
And Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ordered that a government commission investigate the crash, a statement from his office said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “expressed deep condolences” to Malaysia’s Prime Minister over the crash, a post Thursday on the Kremlin’s website said. He “asked to pass the most sincere word of condolences and support to families and relatives of (the crash) victims,” the post said.
Near the end of a phone call Thursday morning with President Obama, Putin noted to the President the early reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Obama has directed his staff to be in touch with senior Ukrainian officials, Earnest said.
The route the Malaysian plane was on, between Kuala Lumpur and the Netherlands, is a common one, CNN aviation safety consultant Mary Schiavo said Thursday. She said that the plane was flying over a troubled area and that close communication with air traffic controllers would be a key necessity.
In hostile or disputed areas, “any alteration from your course, and you can have a problem,” she said.
Tensions have been high between Ukraine and Russia since street protests forced former pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February. Russia subsequently annexed Ukraine’s southeastern Crimea region, and a pro-Russian separatist rebellion has been raging in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
Ukrainian forces have been struggling to quell the separatist unrest. Ukraine’s government has accused Russia of allowing weapons and military equipment, including tanks, to cross the border illegally into the hands of pro-Russian separatists.
The Pentagon said Wednesday that Russia now has 12,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, as well as some heavy weapons. The troop numbers had fallen to about 1,000 previously from a high of an estimated 40,000 forces earlier this year.
On Thursday, CNN reported that Ukrainian officials said a Russian fighter shot down a Ukrainian jet Wednesday as the jet flew in Ukrainian airspace.
Tensions are high over that incident, separate from the breaking news of the Malaysian flight Thursday.
Three months ago, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prohibited U.S. airlines from flying in areas not far from where Flight 17 reportedly crashed Thursday. “Due to the potential for conflicting air traffic control instructions from Ukrainian and Russian authorities and for the related potential misidentification of civil aircraft, United States flight operations are prohibited until further notice in the airspace over Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov,” the FAA said in April. Thursday’s plane crash reportedly was in eastern Ukraine, scores of miles north-northeast of the Sea of Azov.
On Thursday, French transportation official Frederic Cuvillier ordered that French airlines avoid Ukrainian airspace until the cause of Thursday’s Malaysia Airlines crash is known, the French Transportation Ministry said in a news release.
On top of that, the report of a downed Malaysian flight marks the second time this year that Malaysia Airlines has faced an incident involving a downed plane.
On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared. That plane had 239 people on board. Searchers have found no trace of 370 or its passengers, despite extensive search efforts.
Flight 370 probably flew into the southern Indian Ocean on autopilot with an unresponsive crew, Australian authorities said last month.
During the early phase of the search for Flight 370, aircraft and ships scoured vast stretches of the surface of the southern Indian Ocean but found no debris.
Pings initially thought to be from the missing plane’s flight recorders led to a concentrated underwater search that turned up nothing.
A new underwater search, farther south, will be broadly in an area where planes and vessels had already looked for debris on the surface of the water. It is expected to begin in August.
Rely on Fox 8 News and FOX8.com for the latest updates.
On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, also a Boeing 777 and carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew on a route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared somewhere over the ocean. It has not been found.
"Message from the militia:
"In the district of Torez an An-26 was just shot down. It crashed somewhere near the Progress mine. We warned them not to fly in "our skies". Here is video confirmation of the latest "fallen bird". The bird landed outside the residential zone, no peaceful civilians were injured."
One military source said: “The Russians have several surface-to-air systems that could have done this and the Ukrainians have them in their inventory too.
“It’s not something that the average rebel would have unless it was furnished to them. It’s definitely a step up in capability.
“If a surface-to-air missile is engaging at 30,000 feet, this is not a shoulder launched man portable system. This is much more sophisticated than that.”
Nato AWACS planes flying patrols over Poland and Romania have not been able to determine the missile launch site, he said.
“The AWACs planes were just not close enough and not in the right place,” he said.
Some Question Arise
- How can we say that the plane was shot down by the russian rebels when no one else seems to know,get the facts right before you print them?
- If it indeed was shot down they must have taken a page out of the American book that chronicled the shooting down of a Iranian passenger plane by the US navy.
- When any country arms any faction for any reason anywhere in the world.......at that moment you have no control whatsoever how they use those weapons.......
- Just to give some balance: MOSCOW, July 17 (RIA Novosti) - A Ukrainian army battalion of Buk air defense systems was deployed near the city of Donetsk a day before the crash of a Malaysian passenger plane on Thursday, making the downing of the aircraft by one of the missiles highly probable, an expert source said.
Interfax news agency says the passenger airliner was shot down at an altitude of 10km above Eastern Ukraine.