It was reported that a Malaysian Airlines plane carrying a total of 298 people (283 passengers including three infants of various nationalities and 15 crew of Malaysian nationality), has crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border.
Russian non-governmental news agency Interfax first broke the news about the plane crash after citing an aviation industry source. The Boeing Malaysian airlines was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
According to Reuters, the plane did not enter Russian airspace. However, Interfax reported that the Malaysian passenger airliner was shot down at altitude of 10km above Eastern Ukraine by a ground-to-air missile. While it’s not verified, Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser stated that all passengers onboard died in the Malaysian airliner crash.
As the area was controlled by pro-Russian separatists who are fighting the Ukrainian army, Ukrainian journalist Myroslava reported that Malaysia Airlines plane crashed to the north of Torez in the Donetsk region, as confirmed by military expert Dmitry Tymchuk.
Regarding the plane crash, MAS has confirmed that they had lost contact with flight MH17 from Amsterdam with last known position over Ukraine. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak posted a tweet saying that they are launching an “immediate investigation” on the reports of the plane crash.
This is yet another tragic incident for MAS and Malaysia as on March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared. That plane had 239 people on board and searchers have found no trace of 370 or its passengers despite extensive search efforts.
According to the Reuters, the 5th President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko says bringing down of Malaysian passenger plane was a “terrorist act”. Various airlines including Russian airline Aeroflot & Transaero as well as Turkish Airlines will avoid entering Ukrainian airspace as well after the incident.
Various news outlets reported seeing burning wreckage of airplane and dead bodies on ground. Associated Press journalist further confirmed that at least 22 bodies have been found at Ukraine plane wreckage site.
RABOVE, UKRAINE: Plenty of mutilated corpses are seen strewn at the wreckage site of Malaysia Airlines MH17 after it crashed in east Ukraine, reported an AFP reporter who is at the scene.
Debris is spread out over many kilometres and the tail of a passenger jet lay in a corn field with the Malaysia Airlines insignia on it while fire trucks were seen nearby at the crash site. -AFP
We will continue updating this post as we get further information.