A Malaysia Airlines flight, MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in eastern Ukraine, Russian after it was shot down allegedly by pro-Russian separatists.
The flight was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew on board a Boeing 777 aircraft which departed Amsterdam at 12:15pm and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 am.
Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it “lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.” According to a statement released by Malaysian Airlines, they “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 Russia-Ukraine border.”
The plane went missing near Grabovo, an area where severe fighting occurred between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels in recent days.
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters and was hit by a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters. However, both the Ukraine government and the pro-Russia separatists denied any responsibility for crashing the plane.
Ukraine President, Petro Poroshenko denied all allegations that his country’s armed forces were responsible for shooting down MH17 and appeared to blame separatists for the downing of MH17 saying that “We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets…We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.”
However, separatist leader Aleksander Borodai blamed it on the country’s government forces telling Russia’s state-run Rossiya 24 TV broadcaster “Apparently, it’s a passenger airliner indeed, truly shot down by the Ukrainian Air Force”.
It has been a streak of bad luck for Malaysia Airlines, making this its second major tragedy this year. On March 8 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared without a trace – it had 239 people on board. Malaysia Airlines share prices are expected to drop.