The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 298 people aboard was blown out of the sky today at 33,000 feet by what Ukrainian and U.S. officials described as a Russian-made antiaircraft missile. The plane crashed on a wheat field in a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists. Everyone aboard was killed. (The New York Times, 17 July)
U.S. intelligence and military officials said the plane had been destroyed by a Russian SA-series missile, based on surveillance satellite data that showed the final trajectory and impact of the missile but not its point of origin, the Times reported.
The separatists had in recent days bragged about shooting down at least three Ukrainian military aircraft. This time, they could have mistaken MH 17 flight with a Ukrainian military aircraft.
“This is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia,” said Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia. “If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.”
Photo credit: The crash site of a Malaysia Airlines 777 carrying 298 people in the Donets region of Ukraine. (Dmitry Lovetsky/AP/NYTimes)