A surface-to-air missile launched at a Malaysia Airlines flight en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam Thursday with 295 aboard crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border.
Malaysia Airlines confirmed that Ukrainian air traffic control lost contact with Flight MH17 about 30 miles from the Russia-Ukraine border per USA Today. The airline said the plane was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members. All are believed to be dead.
U.S. intelligence officials confirmed that the flight was taken down by a radar-guided missile, although they were not in agreement as to where it originated. It was “not an accident, it was blown out of the sky,” Vice President Joe Biden said.
The site of the crash is in a region where tensions and fighting between Ukraine and pro-Russian militants have been festering for months. Crash victims and body parts were strewn about up to 10 miles away. News agencies reported 154 Dutch nationals were among those killed, along with 23 U.S. citizens, 27 Australians, 11 Indonesians, six Brits, four Germans, four Belgians, four French, three Filipinos and one Canadian. Crew members were from Malaysia.
The crash took place at around 12:15 local time, two hours after the aircraft departed from Amsterdam. It’s the second crash involving a Malaysia Air Boeing 777 this year. On March 8, Flight 370 disappeared from the skies with 239 passengers and crew members aboard on a flight originating from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Despite one of the most extensive searches in history, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has yet to be found.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called Thursday’s attack a terrorist act and ordered an investigation. Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists and Russia denied involvement. Separatists believed the aircraft was a military cargo plane, according to SBU, Ukraine’s main security agency.
Air Missile Kills 295 Aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight In Ukraine