UPDATE: Malaysian Plane Shot Down Over Ukraine

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

 Malaysia Airlines says it lost contact with a plane over Ukrainian airspace.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) UPDATE 4:10 PM

Malaysia's prime minister says a Malaysia Airlines jetliner did not make any distress call before it went down in Ukraine, and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters that Ukrainian authorities believe the Boeing 777, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down.

He says that Malaysia, however, is unable to verify "the cause of this tragedy but we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight.

This is the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines this year. Its Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.


UPDATE 3:50 PM

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."


UPDATE @ 2:46pm 7/17/2014

A Russian news agency has quoted a leader of eastern Ukraine's pro-Russia rebels as saying they intend to call a three-day cease fire to allow an investigation of the crash of a Malaysian airliner.

The RIA-Novosti agency on Thursday quoted rebel leader Alexander Borodai as saying discussions were underway with Ukrainian authorities on calling the short truce for humanitarian reasons.

He said international organizations would be allowed into the conflict-plagued region.


UPDATE @ 2:38pm 7/17/2014

Russian news agencies have quoted witnesses as saying they saw a plane being hit by what they thought was a rocket today over Ukraine.

But both Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels are denying they fired a missile that brought down a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane with 295 people aboard.

The plane crashed in eastern Ukraine, about 25 miles from the Russian border. An Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the wreckage site, which covers a wide area.

The wreckage is in a village that is currently under the control of pro-Russia separatists. It's seen severe fighting between separatists and government troops in recent days.

Aviation authorities in several countries, including the FAA in the United States, had issued warnings not to fly over parts of Ukraine prior to today's crash. Within hours, several airlines, including Lufthansa and KLM, released statements today saying they were avoiding parts of Ukrainian airspace.


UPDATE @ 1:51 PM 7/17/2014

President Barack Obama says the United States will offer any assistance possible to determine what happened to a downed passenger jet in Ukraine and why.

Obama says the incident looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. He says the U.S. is working to determine whether any American citizens were on board. Obama says that's the first priority for the U.S.

He says the nation's thoughts and prayers are with the victims, regardless of where they are from.

Obama spoke during an event about transportation funding in Delaware. He discussed the plane incident earlier Thursday in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A Ukrainian official says a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over eastern Ukraine.


UPDATE @ 1:32pm 7/17/2014

An Associated Press journalist has counted at least 22 bodies at the plane wreckage site in eastern Ukraine involving a Malaysia Airlines commercial flight.

The plane appeared to have broken up before impact and the wreck is scattered over a wide area in the eastern Ukraine village of Grabovo.

The field around the burning wreck was strewn with body parts and the belongings of the passengers Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines has said 295 people were aboard the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.


UPDATE @ 11:46am 7/17/2014

Ukraine pro-Russia rebels say they didn't shoot down airliner, blame Ukrainian armed forces.


UPDATE @ 11:28am 7/17/2014

Ukraine's president says his country's armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets, after reports that a Malaysian Airlines plane went down over Ukraine.

President Petro Poroshenko says Thursday "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."

Poroshenko said "we are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible."


UPDATE @ 11:16am 7/17/2014

The Malaysian prime minister says he is launching immediate probe into reported jetliner crash.


UPDATE @ 11:00am 7/17/2014

Malaysia Airlines says it lost contact with a plane over Ukrainian airspace.

MH17 was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

A Ukrainian government adviser Anton Gerashenko said on Facebook that a plane carrying 295 people was shot down over a town in the east of the country.

The airline said on Twitter that more details were coming.


An adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister says a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people has been shot down over a town in the east of the country.

Anton Gerashenko says on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit Thursday by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.

A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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