Malaysian Passenger Plane Crashes in Ukraine Near Russian Border


A Malaysia Airlines passenger flight has crashed with 295 people on board, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

Ukrainian outlet The Insider is reporting the plane, a Boeing 777, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and crashed in the Donetsk region and was shot down.

Below is a video purported to be of the crash:

We translated this video to the best our ability, but the sound quality is poor

“What’s going on?”

“It’s a plane. Look!”

“It means the pilot died. Yes.” 

“The plane!”

Then someone asks, “Why is everyone so excited?”

Another onlooker explains, “At first it was flying. It was coming from this side. It was flying, flying.”

Another person chimes in, “It’s in a couple pieces. That’s what it seems like.”

Interfax reports that the plane lost contact at about 4:20 p.m. Ukraine time and that the airplane was brought down by a “ground-to-air missile.” 

The crash comes just months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared in March. 

Sources within Ukraine tell The Wire that Ukrainian television reporters are stressing that this was a plane “crash,” rather than a plane which was shot down. Press in-country are saying Ukrainian authorities have already sent a group there to investigate now.

Our source noted that reports both on Ukrainian and Russian local television were careful to say that Russia is about 200 km away from the crash site. The space above Donetsk, per these reports, is closed airspace. The airspace was set to be closed through October 31st, offering this explanation, “According to the indication of the aviation authorities of Ukraine the air space over Lugansk and Donetsk areas is closed for flights of civil aircraft.” 

This report comes from Viktor Gerashchenko, who served as the Chairman of the Soviet and later Russian Central Bank. In 2000, he received the Order of Merit for the Fatherland. His longtime ties with the Russian government, and Putin directly, make him an especially interesting source for this report.

As for Malaysia Airlines, they have only offered one report on the matter, saying they “lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.”

“The most important thing is a flight flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur would have been at 32,000 feet, and for someone to mistake that for a hostile aircraft would be very very difficult,” former NTSB Inspector General Mary Schiavo told CNN. “It would be difficult to see how this would be a mistake and see this as an enemy aircraft.”

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