BBC news: 19 July 2014 MH17 Malaysia plane crash in Ukraine: What we know All 298 people on board a Malaysia Airlines plane have died after the airliner crashed in eastern Ukraine, close to the border with Russia.
Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was travelling over the conflict-hit region when it disappeared from radar. A total of 283 passengers, including some 80 children, and 15 crew members were on board. What type of plane was it? The crashed plane was a Boeing 777-200ER, the same model as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March.The aircraft, manufactured in 1997, had a clean maintenance record and its last check was on 11 July, Malaysia Airlines said.
Malaysia’s prime minister said there was no distress call before the plane went down.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 – Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200ER
Left Amsterdam: 10:15 GMT
Lost contact: 14:15 GMT at 10,000m (33,000ft)
According to Malaysia Airlines, the plane departed Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport at 10:15 GMT (12:15 local time) on 17 July and was due to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 22:10 GMT (06:10 local time).
The airline lost contact four hours later at 14:15 GMT – 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.
Footage later emerged of the crash site, and witnesses spoke of dozens of bodies on the ground.
Debris from the plane is strewn over several kilometres
What caused the crash?
The two sides in Ukraine’s civil conflict have accused each other of shooting down the jet with a missile.
US intelligence authorities said a surface-to-air missile brought down the plane but it was not yet clear who fired it.
Ukrainian government adviser Anton Herashchenko claimed the plane was hit by a missile fired by a Buk launcher – a Russian-made, medium-range surface-to-air missile system.
Ukrainian authorities later released a recording they claimed was a conversation between pro-Russian militants admitting to shooting down the plane.
However, separatist leader Alexander Borodai accused the Ukrainian government of attacking the airliner itself.
„Apparently, it’s a passenger airliner indeed, truly shot down by the Ukrainian air force,“ he told Russia’s state-run Rossiya 24 TV broadcaster.
Experts says flight crash investigators should be able to determine what caused the crash from traces left on the debris.
Buk surface-to-air missile system
Who was on board?
Flight MH17 was carrying at least 189 Dutch nationals, 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and nine Britons.
Other passengers came from Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand.
Many of those killed were delegates on their way to an international conference on Aids in Melbourne, Australia.
Glenn Thomas, 49, a British media officer for the World Health Organisation (WHO), was among those who died.
„We have lost a wonderful person and a great professional,“ said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib. „Our hearts are broken. We are all in shock.“
Other stories of passengers and crew emerging include a Malaysia-Dutch family of five, a Dutch couple on their way to Bali, an Australian pathologist and his wife returning from a European holiday, as well as a Malaysian flight steward whose wife – who also works for Malaysia Airlines – had narrowly escaped death when she pulled out of a shift working on missing flight MH370.
Malaysia Airlines said it would release the full passenger manifest once all next of kin were informed.
Was it safe to fly over Ukraine? Continue reading the main story
Malaysia Airlines‘ senior vice-president Europe, Huib Gorter, said the flight route had been declared safe by the authorities, was being used by many other airlines and was not subject to any restrictions.
Although the area where the jet crashed had a no-fly zone in place up to 9,754m (32,000ft), the airliner was flying at 10,058m (33,000ft) – above the limit.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority says airlines‘ decisions on whether to fly over conflict zones will be based on a range of factors – advice from the Foreign Office, warnings in the area, weather, navigation aids, strikes and which airports are out of action.
In the 48 hours running up to the MH17 crash, many airlines had chosen to keep flying in the area, data from flight tracker Planefinder shows.
According to Flight radar24, which also monitors live flight paths, the airlines that most frequently flew over Donetsk in the last week were: Aeroflot (86 flights), Singapore Airlines (75), Ukraine International Airlines (62), Lufthansa (56), and Malaysia Airlines (48).
At the time of the MH17 crash on 17 July, a number of other flights were in the area.
Selected flights over eastern Ukraine on the afternoon of 17 July
What about the plane’s black boxes? Continue reading the main story
As international investigators scramble to gain access to the crash site, rescue workers say they have recovered one of the plane’s „black box“ flight recorders after searching through debris.
Pro-Russian separatists in the region are also said to have discovered the second black box.
The recorders – actually coloured a deep orange to aid discovery – store key technical information about the flight as well as conversations undertaken in the cockpit.
Who will investigate?
The Ukrainian government initiated an investigation and had invited Malaysia to participate, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai confirmed on Friday.
Sixty-two officials from Malaysia, including disaster assistance and rescue teams, medical staff, air force representatives and civil aviation department staff, are travelling to Kiev.
But Malaysian authorities also called for an additional independent international investigation to be conducted.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has sent a team of international monitors to the crash site and confirmed they had been given safe access on Friday.
Separatists are also co-operating with Ukrainian authorities in the course of the rescue operation, the organisation said.