Archive for July 19th, 2014

Ukraine, rebels agree on security zone at crash site

Filip Warwick and Doug Stanglin

HRABOVE, Ukraine — Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists agreed Saturday to set up a security zone around the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet to allow the orderly removal of the bodies of the 298 people killed in the shootdown of MH17 over eastern Ukraine two days ago.

The Malaysian airliner — en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 183 passengers and 15 crew members — crashed into rebel-held territory on Thursday after being hit by what U.S. officials say was a SA-11 surface-to-air missile. There were no survivors.

Ukrainian Security Service head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko said in televised remarks Saturday that trilateral talks, involving Russia, had agreed on a 7-square-mile security zone “so that Ukraine could fulfill the most important thing — identify the bodies (and) hand them over to relatives,” Ukrinform reports.

The announcement of an agreement followed charges by Ukraine that local militia in the restive eastern Ukraine region near the Russian border had removed at least 38 bodies from the crash site near the village of Hrabove. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ukraine rebels ‘destroy MH17 clues’

BBC News

Ukraine has accused pro-Russian rebels of trying to destroy evidence of “international crimes” at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines plane.

The government said the rebels led by Russia were preventing international representatives and its own experts from starting their investigation.

It is believed flight MH17 crashed after being hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from a rebel-held area in east Ukraine on Thursday.

All 298 people on board died. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH17 air crash: Battle for control of disaster inquiry

BBC News
19 July 2014

The investigation into the MH17 air disaster is fraught with difficulties.

The crash site is in territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Jurisdiction and control over what emerges as the full account of what happened will be contested fiercely. Even beyond the human tragedy, the stakes could scarcely be higher, with the future direction of the Ukraine crisis seemingly in the balance.

As global anger and shock mounts over the apparent shooting down of the passenger aircraft, here are some of the key issues surrounding what could be a highly contentious air crash investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Emergency Parliament on Wednesday should have two separate motions to discuss not only Thursday’s MH 17 disaster which costs 298 lives but also the MH 370 disappearance 133 days ago with 239 lives on board

Members of Parliament have received the notice for an emergency meeting of Parliament on Wednesday, 17th July 2014, by the Parliament Secretary Datuk Roosme binti Hamzah by email timed 5.40 am to debate the MH 17 tragedy.

Malaysians are still reeling from the unspeakable and indescribable horror of a second air disaster in less than five months to hit the country and the national airline Malaysian Airlines, claiming a total of 537 lives from over 10 different countries.

There are great differences between the MH 370 disaster of March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board and the MH 17 disaster of July 17 with 298 passengers and crew on board, firstly, the latter is an atrocious crime against humanity representing inexcusable and unpardonable war crimes while the cause of the latter remains a great mystery despite the largest and longest (and continuing) multi-national land, sea and under-sea search in history; and secondly, the bereaved families, relative and friends of the victims of the MH 17 disaster can have closure although still demanding for justice against the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity in downing the civilian aircraft from the skies while the bereaved families, relatives and friends of the victims of MH 370 disaster are still looking for a closure, as the announcement by the Prime Minister on March 24 that the Malaysian airline “ended it journey in the South Indian Ocean” proved to be “a closure without closure”. Read the rest of this entry »


Stop blaming Malaysia Airlines for downed MH17

by Jahabar Sadiq
The Malaysian Insider
19 July 2014

No words can take away the great pain that all of us feel for flight MH17. Nothing could have prepared us for what happened on July 17 as much as nothing had prepared us for flight MH370’s mysterious disappearance on March 8.

No country, no airline and no one deserves a single or double tragedy that has struck Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia and Malaysians. And those who died or vanished in either MH17 or MH370.

It goes without saying then that we should not add words to deepen the pain in our hearts for these two tragedies. Malaysia Airlines – one of the world’s safest carrier – lost 510 passengers, 27 crew member and two planes in the space of 131 days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Downing of Jet Exposes Defects of Flight Precautions Over Ukraine

New York Times
JULY 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — As this Southeast Asian nation mourned the loss of scores of passengers aboard another lost Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, the precautions instituted by the aviation authorities and flight planners to protect commercial aviation along the Russian-Ukrainian border have been shown to be catastrophically insufficient.

The downing of the passenger plane over eastern Ukraine on Thursday occurred shortly after the authorities in Russia and Ukraine, citing dangers presented by the conflict around the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, closed air space up to 32,000 feet along the passenger jet’s planned route. Ukraine made the changes on Monday, the same day a Ukrainian AN-26 military cargo plane was destroyed by a missile while flying at 21,000 feet. Russia followed with similar restrictions effective at midnight on Wednesday, hours before Flight 17 took off from Amsterdam.

The decision by government officials to restrict the airspace, rather than close it completely, raised unanswered questions. Read the rest of this entry »


Pressure mounts on Putin as British death toll from shot plane rises to 10

Michael Settle
Herald, Scotland
19 July 2014

PRESSURE is mounting on Russia over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 as it was confirmed the British death toll among the 298 victims, who included 80 ­children, has risen to 10.

US President Barack Obama described Thursday’s crash, from which there were no survivors, as “a global tragedy.”

Circumstantial evidence ­indicated Thursday’s flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine from 33,000ft by a surface-to-air missile fired from near the mining city of Torez, which lies in territory controlled by rebels seeking closer ties to Moscow.

Mr Obama stressed it was not the first time the rebels had shot down planes in the region, adding that a “steady flow of support from Russia” had included heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weapons. Read the rest of this entry »

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Twin Disasters Turn 2014 Into the Year of Flying Dangerously

Clive Irving
The Daily Beast

A missile attack over Ukraine and a ghostly disappearance over the Indian Ocean have cast a pall over the whole experience of airline travel.

Was there ever such a luckless airline as Malaysian Airlines? As a human tragedy, the double blow can barely be measured in its horror. As a statistic, it’s unparalleled in aviation history: nearly 600 people lost on one airline in less than five months. And for the airline industry the two disasters, one still inexplicable and the other brutally terminal, cast a pall over the whole experience of flying.

Right now one has to cast aside all the reservations about how the airline and Malaysian officials handled the disappearance of Flight 370. The sheer improbability of the dice rolling against the airline again in the form of a missile strike over Ukraine just heightens the agony.

Of all the airplanes in the sky over Europe that morning, Malaysia Flight 17 happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If another airliner from another nation had been in the crosshairs of whoever controlled that missile battery the result would have been equally appalling, but there it is, lying in a Ukrainian meadow, that familiar Malaysian decal on a shattered tailfin. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Airlines Ukraine Crash: Fateful Errors, Fatal Decisions

Mark Thompson
July 17, 2014

Common thread in shootdowns is multiple mistakes

It’s looking increasingly likely that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine Thursday by a Russian-built Buk missile, killing all 298 people on board. While that’s yet unconfirmed, U.S. officials, reviewing satellite data and other intelligence, believe a missile downed the airplane, and that pro-Russian separatists inside Ukraine are the most likely to have fired the killer shot.

We have seen this horror movie before.

It began with a Soviet warplane shooting down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983. The Soviets initially denied any involvement, but ultimately conceded one of its Su-15 interceptors had shot down the plane, killing all 269 aboard. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flight MH17 – “This is not a disaster. It is Hell”

Jul 18th 2014


THE field is filled with bodies. One has on jeans, but no shoes. A second is in a polo shirt and grey socks, one of which is charred. A third wears blue trousers, but your correspondent cannot see the face, smashed as it is under the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Eastern Ukraine has been at war for nearly three months. At first the violence came at a slow drip that few thought could turn into a torrent. Now 298 people—283 passengers and 15 crew—have died in an instant, their deaths seemingly the work of a sophisticated surface-to-air missile.

Passengers onboard Flight 17 had made themselves comfortable for the long journey from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. One, in black leggings, now rests next to a black duffle bag, which is somehow intact. A green luggage strap lies in the grass like a snake. Someone comments on the smell: acrid, heavy. Only death smells this way. Read the rest of this entry »