Updated – Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, heading to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam with 298 people on board crashed in the borders of Ukraine and Russia.
Reports say that 154 passengers are nationals from Netherlands, Malaysia 43, Australia 27, Indonesia 12, United Kingdom 9, Germany 4, Belgium 4, Philippines 3, Canada 1, and 41 still unverified.
According to Ukraine’s Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko the plane was shot down by a missile.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said “In recent days, this is the third tragic accident after the Russian territory were downed aircraft AN-26 and SU-25 Armed Forces of Ukraine. We do not exclude that this aircraft was also shot down, and stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not commit any action to defeat the purposes of the air.”
Ukrainian security services released recordings proving that allegedly Russian military intelligence ordered MH17 to be shot down.
Experts say that to shoot down a plane 10,000 meters above sea level needs a long-range surface-to-air missile with guidance from a radar.
“If it is the result of either separatist or Russian actions mistakenly believing this was a Ukrainian war plane, I think there’s going to be hell to pay and there should be,” US Senator John McCain vowed.
US President Obama said, “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens onboard. That is our first priority and I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government.”
“The US will offer any assistance we can to determine what happened and why.”
“As a country our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home,” Obama added.
This incident coincides with the 18th anniversary of the crash on July 17 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded over Long island killing 230 people onboard.
The incident comes four months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which remains to be missing.