By Ashley Fantz, CNN
July 17, 2014
(CNN) — A Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has crashed in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agency Interfax reported Thursday.
Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it lost contact with Flight 17 and that the plane’s last known position was over Ukrainian airspace, the airline said on Twitter.
The aircraft was “shot down” over Ukraine by “terrorists” operating a Buk surface-to-air missile system, according to the Facebook page of Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry. There were 280 passengers killed as well as 15 crew members, Gerashchenko’s post reads.
“We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, according to his website.
The jet is a Boeing 777, according to Interfax. The plane reportedly went down near the border between Russia and Ukraine.
“We are aware of reports on MH17. We’re gathering more information,” Boeing said on Twitter.
“I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in another tweet.
News of the Malaysian plane comes in the same week that Ukrainian officials said a Russian fighter shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane while the aircraft was in in Ukrainian airspace.
The route the Malaysian plane was on, between Kuala Lumpur and the Netherlands, is a common one, CNN aviation safety consultant Mary Schiavo said Thursday. She said that the plane was flying over a troubled area and that close communication with air traffic controllers would be a key necessity.
In hostile or disputed areas, “any alteration from your course, and you can have a problem,” she said.