Plane shot down by a surface-to-air missile, U.S. officials say
By Patrick Tolbert and Jackie VegaPublished: July 17, 2014, 10:34 amUpdated: July 17, 2014, 6:13 pm
HRABOVO, Ukraine (KXAN/AP) – A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people on board has crashed in the Ukraine after being shot out of the air. The jetliner was shot down as it flew over the conflict-riddled eastern portion of Ukraine near the Russian border, the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists deny they shot at the airliner.
The flight, known as MH17, was enroute to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it went down. There were 280 passengers and 15 crew members onboard.
NBC News reports senior U.S. Officials confirmed MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
A reporter for the Associated Press counted at least 22 bodies among the wreckage at the crash site. It is unclear if these casualties were on the plane or killed while on the ground.
Malaysia Airlines announced it lost contact with the flight via Twitter:
Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.—
Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) July 17, 2014
Popular flight-tracking website Flightaware.com showed the plane was last over Ukraine, when it disappeared from tracking. The aircraft was flying at a cruising altitude of 33,000 feet when it last reported in to Flightaware.
Twitter exploded with the news in various languages, including pictures and videos of plumes of smoke. NBC News aired this video, saying they were unable to independently confirm the smoke plume is from MH17.
Still, a Reuters correspondent is reportedly on the scene in Easter Ukraine and “sees burning wreckage of air plane, bodies on ground.”
#BREAKING: Reuters correspondent on the scene in Eastern Ukraine sees burning wreckage of air plane, bodies on ground—
Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 17, 2014
The area where the aircraft reportedly crashed is has seen frequent rocket attacks in recent days as part of the ongoing conflict between the Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian military officials said a military transport plane was shot at as it flew over the area earlier this week.
The Donetsk region government said a plane crashed Thursday near a village called Grabovo, which it said is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatists. The region where the flight was lost has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels in recent days.
Shot out of the sky
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).
The warring sides in Ukraine claim they did not fire on the jetliner. Only sophisticated missile systems would be capable of striking an airliner flying at 33,000 feet.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism and called for an international investigation into the crash. He insisted that his forces did not shoot down the plane saying “Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” according to the Associated Press.
At the same time, Ukrainan pro-Russia rebels say they didn’t shoot down the airliner. Instead, they blame the Ukrainian armed forces, the AP reported.
Ukraine’s security services produced what they said were two intercepted telephone conversations that they said showed rebels were responsible for downing a Malaysian airliner.
In the first call, the security services said, rebel commander Igor Bezler tells a Russian military intelligence officer that rebel forces shot down a plane Thursday.
In the second, two rebel fighters — one of them at the scene of the crash — say the rocket attack was carried out by a unit of insurgents about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of the crash site.
Neither recording could be independently verified.
One of the fighters, who states he is at the site of where the plane came to the ground, describes seeing scattered debris. He later describes finding the documents of somebody he identifies as an Indonesian national studying at “Thompson University.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says he is launching an immediate probe into the jetliner crash.
Flights restricted over warzones
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airmen, or “NOTAM,” in April prohibiting American civilian aircraft and pilots from flying over the Crimea region of the Ukraine. However, that warning did apply to MH17 and did not cover the area where MH17 was flying when it went down. The FAA has since issued a NOTAM restricting flight in the area where the 777 was shot down.
The German-flagged carrier Lufthansa announced it would no longer route its aircraft over the area.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is asking his advisers to keep him updated on reports of a plane shot down over Ukraine. But the White House says it can’t confirm the reports.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday that Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin before leaving on a trip to Delaware and New York. But Earnest could not say whether it was before or after Obama was aware of reports that the plane was shot down.
Malaysia Airlines 777
Malaysia Airlines made headlines in March when a Boeing 777 disappeared over the south Indian Ocean on flight MH370 to China and has not been found. All 241 aboard are presumed dead. Flight MH370 disappeared in an area with scattered radar coverage. Thursday’s flight, MH17, was in an area with heavy radar coverage when it crashed.
The airline flies 13 Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. The crashed aircraft, registration number 9M-MRD, was delivered to Malaysia Airlines on July 29, 1997. A typical cabin configuration for a Malaysia Airlines 777 allows for 35 business class seats and 247 economy seats for a total of 282 passenger seats, according to Seat Guru.com.
Associated Press reports contributed to this article.
The Malaysia Airlines plane is the fourth commercial airliner to face such a fate. The previous three were:
April 20, 1978: Korean Airlines Flight 902, which diverted from its planned course on a flight from Paris to Seoul and strayed over the Soviet Union. After being fired upon by an interceptor aircraft, the crew made a forced landing at night on the surface of a frozen lake. Two of the 97 passengers were killed by the hostile fire.
Sept. 1, 1983: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down by at least one Soviet air-to-air missile after the 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace. All 240 passengers and 29 crew were killed.
July 3, 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed.
SOURCE: Associated Press
Code: Select all
http://kxan.com/2014/07/17/malaysian-airlines-777-reportedly-crashes-in-ukraine/ https://lintvkxan.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/ap429397678413.jpg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhUkqs9CQ0w