WARNING: THE THUMBNAIL GALLERY BELOW
CONTAINS IMAGES FROM THE CRASH SCENE
WHICH YOU WILL FIND DISTURBING
With MH370 still missing, Malaysia Airlines couldn’t have imagined things could get any worse for them. But now 298 souls have perished after being shot out of the sky near the Russia / Ukraine border.
According to CNN:
A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed in a rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine on Thursday, spurring swift accusations from Ukrainian officials that “terrorists” shot down the aircraft.
The United States has concluded a missile shot down the plane, but hasn’t pinpointed who was responsible, a senior U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr.
The Boeing 777 with 298 people aboard fell from the sky near the town of Torez in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, officials said. A top Ukrainian official said the plane, which was on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was flying at about 10,000 meters (nearly 33,000 feet) when the missile hit.
A radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down, the senior U.S. official said. A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said. The United States is analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from, the official said.
Whether or not it was a mistaken strike, this incident is obviously very different to the missing plane as this shows definite signs of aggression. The mix of nations on board will further heighten the anger and level of involvement of the international community. The mix of nationalities on board has been revealed.
This, from the BBC:
In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said MH17 was carrying at least 154 Dutch nationals, 27 Australians, 43 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 12 Indonesians and nine Britons.
Other passengers came from Germany, Belgium, the Philippines and Canada, with the nationalities of 41 people not yet confirmed.
Who did it and should they have been flying there in the first place?
From SKY News:
US Vice-President Joe Biden said the jet appeared to have been deliberately “blown out of the sky”, with an unnamed US official blaming Ukrainian separatists backed by Russia in an interview with the Reuters news agency.
However, separatist leader Alexander Borodai said the aircraft was shot down by Ukrainian government forces – a claim backed by another separatist, who told Reuters the rebels do not have weapons capable of shooting down a plane at such height.
Sky’s Katie Stallard, in Moscow, said Igor Strelkov, the commander of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic, appeared to have boasted about the incident on social media.
Part of the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane is seen after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region
Debris from the Malaysia Airlines plane was strewn over a vast area
In one deleted message recovered by Sky News, he allegedly wrote: “We warned you not to fly over our sky.”
Ukraine’s security service also released what it claimed was a recording of an intercepted phone call between two Russian military intelligence officers, discussing the downing of the plane.
Sky’s Mark White, citing aviation sources, said the aircraft appeared to have been flying close to a block of airspace deemed “unsuitable for civilian aircraft”.
A map showing the location of Donetsk in Ukraine
Air traffic controllers confirmed the plane was flying in open airspace but just 1,000 feet (300 metres) above a restricted zone.
“It raises questions about why the plane was near an area it had been advised not to fly through,” White said.
“Did it stray into that area by accident or did the pilot decide it was a risk worth taking, perhaps as a fuel saving measure?”
Reporting from the Telegraph:
Locals told Noah Sneider, a freelance American journalist, that at first they thought they were being bombed as the plane tore apart above the ground, raining wreckage, bodies and personal possessions along a debris path cut across the rural area.
Here’s Barack Obama before the tally of American lives was known.
We picked up this on SMH, from the Australian PM:
Australia will call in the Russian ambassador to discuss the investigation into the downing of Malaysia flight MH17, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it appears Russian-backed rebels are responsible for shooting down the commercial flight over eastern Ukraine.
Addressing Parliament on Friday morning, Mr Abbott said Australia would seek a binding resolution through the United Nations Security Council for an impartial investigation with full access to the site, debris, black box and ‘‘all individuals who might be in a position to shed light on this terrible event”.
What an incredibly horrific scene.
We will keep you updated on this story.
Our thoughts are with the families of those on board .
Below are more images from the crash scene. WARNING: some of these are of a graphic nature.
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