Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine today, in the Donetsk region, near Ukraine’s border with Russia. Separatists are suspected in the downing, but they say their weapons could not have reached the height where the airliner exploded. The flight was a codeshare with KLM, KL4103.
The airliner, a Boeing 777 was flying at around 10,000 metres, on its flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Although initial reports said 295 people were on board, it is now reported that 298 people from many countries were on board at the time. There were no survivors.
“Flight MH17, operated on a Boeing 777, departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm [Amsterdam time] and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur international airport at 6.10am [Malaysia time] the next day. The flight was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew.” The flight also had a Dutch airline flight number from KLM, KL4103.
Most of the passengers onboard were Dutch nationals. A Malaysia Airlines report says there were 154 Dutch nationals, 43 Malaysians, including the 15 crew, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 9 from the UK, 4 from Germany, 4 from Belgium, 3 from Philippines, 1 from Canada, and 41 as yet unverified. There were three known infants, two Malaysian and one Indonesian.
The Guardian newspaper reported that a local man working in a nearby field saw the plane coming down, and was afraid he would be hit, but he was safe. Other locals thought they were being bombed, when they heard the sounds of the crash.
The US State Department issued this statement:
We are horrified by the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. There are no words adequate to express our condolences to the families of the nearly 300 victims. We offer our sympathies and support to the Governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands at this difficult time, as well as to all those whose citizens may have been on board. We are reviewing whether any American citizens were aboard the flight. The United States Government remains prepared to assist with a credible, international investigation any way we can, and we will continue to be in touch with all relevant partners as we seek the facts of what happened today.