Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What we know and don't know

A pro-Russian separatist views the Malaysia Airlines jet wreckage.
A pro-Russian separatist views the Malaysia Airlines jet wreckage. Reuters

Here, at a glance, is what we know and don't know about the crash if Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

The Flight

The Boeing 777 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on a route - L980 - that, until Thursday, was authorized for flights flying above 32,000 feet. The FAA had advised U.S. planes in April against flying over Crimea but the warning - and a later advisory expanding the no-flight zone by European authorities - did not include L980, which is to the north.

Lost Contact

MH17 was flying at an altitude of about 33,000 feet and about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Russian border in eastern Ukraine when the airline lost contact with its plane about 10:15 a.m. Philadelphia time Thursday. The area has been the scene of fighting between Ukraine government forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels. The crash site is east of the rebel controlled city of Donetsk.

Missile Attack

President Obama said MH17 was shot down by a missile and that evidence indicated it was fired from a rebel-controlled area of eastern Ukraine. Whether the flight was deliberately targeted is not known, Obama said. Immediately after the plane went down Thursday, Ukrainian officials blamed the separatists, citing an intercepted phone call purportedly between a rebel leader to a Russian intelligence officer reporting an airliner had been shot down. Russian and separatist officials have denied involvement and instead blamed the Ukraine. The rebels had previously reported capturing Buk surface-to-air missiles capable of shooting down an airliner. Ukraine on Monday charged that one of its military transport planes had been shot down by a Russian missile.

Victims

The plane was carrying 298 passengers and crew. President Obama said at least one was an American. More than half were Dutch.

Latest Developments

President Obama said Friday evidence so far indicates that MH-17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists. He said it wasn't the first time the separatists had shot down planes in the region, adding that a "steady flow of support from Russia" had included heavy weapons and antiaircraft weapons. He called for an immediate cease-fire to allow for a full investigation.

After holding an emergency session, the U.N. Security Council called for "a full, thorough and independent international investigation" into the downing of the plane.

Putin called Friday for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and urged the two sides to hold peace talks as soon as possible.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry released a video purporting to show a truck carrying the Buk missile launcher it said was used to fire on the plane with one of its four missiles apparently missing. The ministry said the footage was filmed by a police surveillance squad at dawn Friday as the truck was heading in the direction of the Russian border.

 


Sources: vox.com, bbc.com New York Times, Associated Press, airtrafficmanagement.net

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