Official: Malaysian Plane Shot Down Over Ukraine

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By Associated Press

UPDATED 4:05 p.m. THURSDAY, JULY 17, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia's prime minister says a Malaysia Airlines jetliner did not make any distress call before it went down in Ukraine, and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters that Ukrainian authorities believe the Boeing 777, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down.

He says that Malaysia, however, is unable to verify "the cause of this tragedy but we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight.

This is the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines this year. Its Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

UPDATED 2:35 p.m. THURSDAY, JULY 17, 2014

HRABOVO, Ukraine (AP) - Russian news agencies have quoted witnesses as saying they saw a plane being hit by what they thought was a rocket today over Ukraine.

But both Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels are denying they fired a missile that brought down a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane with 295 people aboard.

The plane crashed in eastern Ukraine, about 25 miles from the Russian border. An Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the wreckage site, which covers a wide area.

The wreckage is in a village that is currently under the control of pro-Russia separatists. It's seen severe fighting between separatists and government troops in recent days.

Aviation authorities in several countries, including the FAA in the United States, had issued warnings not to fly over parts of Ukraine prior to today's crash. Within hours, several airlines, including Lufthansa and KLM, released statements today saying they were avoiding parts of Ukrainian airspace.

 

ORIGINAL STORY

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Separatist rebels in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk are denying they're responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane. And Ukraine's president says his country's armed forces didn't shoot at any airborne targets.

A Ukrainian official says a passenger plane with 295 people aboard was shot down in the country's east. The official says the plane flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.

A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

An Associated Press journalist has counted at least 22 bodies at the plane wreckage site.

The plane appeared to have broken up before impact and the wreck is scattered over a wide area in the eastern Ukraine village of Grabovo.

The field around the burning wreck was strewn with body parts and the belongings of the passengers Thursday.

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have discussed the Malaysia Airlines plane incident over eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin website published a statement late Thursday that says "the Russian leader informed the U.S. president of the report from air traffic controllers that the Malaysian plane had crashed on Ukrainian territory, which had arrived immediately before the phone call."

The statement gave no further details about what the leaders discussed with regard to the plane crash. The rest of the phone call was dedicated to the general situation in eastern Ukraine, and recent U.S. sanctions against Russian individuals and companies.

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