Friday, July 18, 2014

UPDATED: Malaysian Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine

UPDATES: Murray McCully has advised that at least one New Zealand passport holder was aboard flight MH17. There are other passengers with New Zealand connections. And reports suggest 27 Australians were amongst the passengers.


Stuff's front-page banner says it all:

Stuff's lead story reports:

A Malaysia Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in near Donetsk, killing 295 people, with Ukraine officials claiming it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile launched by pro-Russian separatists.
The disaster comes only four months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished on a flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on March 8 with 239 people aboard, including New Zealanders Paul Weeks, 38, and Ximin Wang, 50.
A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said it was working with officials in Malaysia and embassies overseas to check if any Kiwis were on the flight over the Ukraine.
Ukrainian armed forces were not involved in the plane being brought down, the Ukranian presidential press service said.
Interfax quoted it as saying that President Petro Poroshenko did not exclude that the plane had been shot down.
"This is the third event in the last few days following An-26 and SU-25 planes being brought down. We do not exclude that this plane was also shot down and we stress that the armed forces of Ukraine did not carry out any action to destroy targets in the air," the press service said.
Poroshenko described the incident an act of "terrorism".
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 metres (33,000 feet).
He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).

If this civilian aircraft has indeed been shot down by pro-Russian Ukraine separatists it is an unspeakably atrocity and an act of terrorism. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this disastrous situation. We will bring you updates as they come to hand.

UPDATE: reports:

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