Malaysia Airlines Passenger Plane Shot Down Over Ukraine, 295 Believed Dead


malaysian-airliner-shot-down1A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard went down today in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, officials said.

The Boeing 777 plane — Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur with 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board — had its “last known position was over Ukraine airspace,” the airline said.

Everyone on board is believed to be dead. It is not known if there were any Americans on the plane.

Ukrainian officials told U.S. Embassy officials that everyone was “believed dead” and that debris was spread out over a 10-mile path near town of Shakhtars’k.

A statement from the Foreign Ministry in Kiev said the plane had been “shot down” over Ukraine airspace by a surface-to-air missile.

“According to the General Staff of Ukrainian Armed Forces, the airplane was shot down by the Russian Buk missile system as the liner was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters [33,000 feet],” the statement added. “Ukraine has no long-range air defense missile systems in this area. The plane was shot down, because the Russian air defense systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area. Ukraine will present the evidence of Russian military involvement into the Boeing crash.”

The plane had left Amsterdam at 12:15 p.m. (local time) and was estimated to arrive in Kuala Lampur International Airport on Friday at 6:10 a.m. (local time), according to Malaysia Airlines.

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.”

In a tweet, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “Condolences to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in connection with the crash of a passenger aircraft in Ukraine.”

President Obama, at an event in Delaware this afternoon, said, “Obviously, the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now, we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority, and I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government.”

He added that the U.S. “will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home.”

Read more at ABC NEWS.

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