Photo (file) - A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER craft.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200ER, is believed to have been shot down by rebels in Eastern Ukraine on Thursday evening about 14.15 pm (GMT) with the loss of all 298 on board, according to news reports.
News services (AFP, Reuters) said that the Malaysia Airline (MAS) flight MH17 en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam crashed in the Eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border. The aircraft disappeared off radar while it passed through the crisis-stricken area.
The MH17 flight took off from Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam at 2.15pm local time (6.15pm Malaysian time) and scheduled to arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 6.10am Friday.
Malaysia Airlines has recently confirmed that 298 were on board:
Netherlands 193 (including 1 dual Netherlands/USA citizen)
Malaysia 43 (including 15 crew & 2 infants)
Indonesia 12 (including 1 infant)
United Kingdom 10 (including 1 dual UK/S. Africa citizen)
New Zealand 1
The full passenger manifest from Malaysia Airlines can be found here.
The usual flight route had been declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was flying was not in restricted airspace. Eurocontrol was reporting to have said that Ukrainian authorities had barred aircraft from ground level to 32,000 feet but MH17 was at 33,000 feet. All flights in eastern Ukraine have now been barred from the area.
The Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian militants from the Donetsk People's Republic have both been reported as denying any connection in the shooting down of a civilian plane.
"If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," the Malaysian prime minister Najib Tun Rajak said in a media conference in Kuala Lumpur.
The Kyiv Post has published two telephone conversations released by Ukraine security agency (SBU), which s that MH17 was shot down by pro-Russian separatists. The first telephone conversation was reportedly about 20 minutes after the crash involving Igor Bezler, identified as Russian intelligence and Vasili Geranin, a colonel in the Russian Federation separatist force.
Malaysia Airlines has since issued a statement that it is replacing MH17 flight number as a mark of respect with MH19 - AMS/KUL from 25 July 2014.
This is the second crisis to have hit Malaysia Airlines this year following the disappearance of Flight MH370 (also a Boeing 777-200ER), carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, which left Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) en route to Beijing at 12.41 am local time (MYT) on Saturday, 8 March 2014 and was expected to land at 6.30 am local time on the same day. The Boeing 777-200ER disappeared from radar about an hour after take-off.
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