Malaysian Passenger Plane Shot Down In Ukraine

Plane

CBS News – GRABOVO, Ukraine – A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 298 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Ukrainian officials said, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the aircraft.

An earlier tally of 295 dead was raised to include three infants in an official list of passengers released by Malaysia Airlines. The bulk of the passengers were from the Netherlands — 154 people. Next highest was 43 from Malaysia and 27 from Australia. It was not immediately known whether any Americans were on board.

U.S. military intelligence strongly suspects a surface-to-air missile brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as it flew at 33,000 feet over the war zone in eastern Ukraine, CBS News has learned.

Wreckage and bodies were spread over several miles along the flight path, CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reported. That would be consistent with the plane being ripped apart by aerodynamic forces after the aircraft was penetrated by a high explosive projectile.

As plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village of Grabovo, an Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the wreckage site 25 miles from the Russian border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Kiev “bears responsibility” for the crash because the plane was brought down in Ukraine.

“This tragedy would not have happened, if there had been peace on that land, or in any case if military operations in southeastern Ukraine had not been renewed,” Putin said in televised comments, according to Reuters.

A Russian news report said pro-Russia rebels intend to call a three-day cease-fire to allow for an investigation into the crash and recovery efforts.

It was not clear who would take part in the investigation. But, Ukraine likely needs to bring in some high-powered expertise, perhaps from the U.S. or Britain, Orr said.

The U.N. Security Council planned to hold an emergency meeting on Friday morning, hoping to receive unanimous approval for a statement calling for an independent, international investigation of the incident, CBS News’ Pamela Falk reported.

The Boeing 777-200ER plane, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, appeared to have broken up before impact and the burning wreckage – which included body parts and the belongings of passengers – was scattered over a wide area.

There were no survivors. Malaysia’s prime minister said the plane didn’t make any distress call before it went down, and that the flight route had been declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Click here to read more from our partners at CBS News.

4 comments

  • Sarah 300

    Prayers for the family members as well as friends. What a senseless tragedy. My heart goes out to all family and friends.

  • kelly

    I can’t believe that this plane flew over a war zone. Why was it allowed to fly over a war zone where multiple other planes were shot down in the past few weeks?

    33,000 feet is nothing for today’s weapons.

    This is devastating for these poor families that lost loved ones just so the air line could save a bit on fuel.

  • Bob

    If we think about this more in depth, was this really so random? Who was on that plane that could possible have led to this. Maybe that’s why it was shot down, and withheld access to the wreckage for so long. I don’t believe that this was a so called accident.

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