A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 has been shot down by a surface to air missile in the Ukraine.
The passenger plane carrying 295 passengers was shot down by a surface to air missile near the Russian border according to r eports, following the dfowning of a Ukrainian military plane the day before.
Various reports report that the plan was shot down at cruising altitude.
Flight 17 is the second major tragedy this year for the Malaysian Airlines, which is still searching for Flight 370 that vanished March 8 somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
The Airline flies about 37,000 passengers aboard 250 departures daily to 80 destinations, according to the company’s website and the Ukrainian tragedy will lead to major repercussions for the Airline, its passengers´ family legal claims and international aviation law generally, not to mention political and military repercussions.
Fox News reports that Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister told The Associated press that the plane, carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew people on board was shot down 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.
“The President of Ukraine on behalf of the State expresses its deepest and most sincere condolences to the families and relatives of those killed in this terrible tragedy,” said a statement released by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s office. “Every possible search and rescue effort is being made.”
The airline, which saw one of its fleet disappear over the Indian Ocean in March, confirmed only that “an incident” had occurred involving the Boeing 777, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.
“Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam,” read a tweet from the airline. “The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow,” read a tweet from Malaysia Airlines’ account.
Gerashenko wrote on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit. A Reuters correspondent near the scene reported seeing burning wreckage and bodies strewn across the ground. A Ukrainian Emergency official told the news agency body parts were scattered up to nine miles around the crash site and at least 100 bodies were seen.
The border area where the plane apparently went down, near the city of Kremenchuk, has been embroiled in the larger dispute between Ukraine and ethnic Russian separatists. Fighting has intensified in recent months in the region. A day before, according to the Ukrainian government, a Russian military plane shot down a Ukrainian fighter jet in Ukrainian airspace.
Both sides began pointing fingers following reports that the plane was shot down. Eastern Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai told Reuters that Ukrainian military forces shot the jet down, but Kiev denied involvement. KT McFarland, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, and a Fox News national security analyst said it is most likely the attack was the work of Russian separatists, not the Russian or Ukrainian army.
“I think it’s far more likely it was rebel forces in eastern Ukraine trying to get the Russian back involved,” McFarland said.
There was widespread speculation among defense experts that if the Russian separatists were responsible, they were likely targeting a military plane and downed a passenger jet by mistake.
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said he has directed the country’s Ministry of Defense to investigate the incident, according to a message on his Twitter account. He said he could not confirm that the plane was shot down.