Malaysia Airlines Aircraft Crashes in Ukraine

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam is reported to have crashed in the Eastern Ukranian town of Torez.  All 298 passengers and crew are presumed dead.  

MAS 772
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft reportedly carried 154 Dutch nationals, 43 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 9 British nationals, 4 Belgians, 4 Germans, 3 Filipinos and 1 Canadian.  The nationalities of 41 passengers and crew have not yet been verified as of 7:40 am Philippine Time.  Up to 100 passengers on board, including International AIDS Society President Joep Lange, were headed to Australia for a global AIDS conference, according to the AFP.  In Schiphol Airport, family members cried as they saw the names and passports of those on board shown on TV screens.  

Messages of sympathy have poured in from around the world, including the United States.  

Anonymous US officials and an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Ministry confirmed that the jet was shot down by militants using surface-to-air missiles but they have not yet identified which side fired the missile.  The crash was reported to be connected to the ongoing internal conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatist rebels.  Both the Ukrainian and Russian sides blamed one another for the incident with Russian President Vladimir Putin stating that the Ukrainian government bears ultimate responsibility as the incident occurred in their airspace. In addition, he accused the Ukrainian government of failing to peacefully engage with pro-Russian separatists.  

Major countries including the United States and United Kingdom have called for an international investigation into the incident.  The US has also called for an immediate ceasefire from all sides in order for the investigations to take its course.  

A social media site associated with a rebel commander stated that a Malaysia Airlines' aircraft had been shot as it was mistaken for a Ukrainian army transport plane.  

In the wake of the incident, Malaysia Airlines said that all of its flights involving Europe would take alternative routes.  Other carriers, such as Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and Qantas indicated that they do not fly their aircraft via the Ukraine or have ceased to do so for quite some time.  The United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has prohibited US-based carriers from flying over Eastern Ukrainian airspace.

This is the second major incident to impact Malaysia Airlines in a span of five months.  On March 8, 2014, flight MH370, headed for Beijing disappeared with 227 passengers on board. 154 of the passengers were from China and Taiwan.  The flight, also operated by a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft has not yet been found. Malaysian Prime Minister Rajib Nazak said that "This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year, for Malaysia."  Malaysia Airlines' shares were down by more than 17% in the wake of the latest incident.  

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