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Flight MH17 has reportedly been gunned down as it was flying over Ukrainian airspace hours later.
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KUALA LUMPUR, July 24:
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 was a Boeing 777. It departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm (Amsterdam local time) and the estimated time of arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was at 6.10am Friday morning (Malaysian time).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reportedly said the remains of Malaysians on board MH17 are unlikely to be brought back before Aidilfitri, according to Bernama.
According to Bernama, the scanning and tagging process of the remains of those on board MH17 should be
completed on Friday.
As of yesterday, forensic experts from Malaysia, Netherlands as well as Australia had screened the bodies in more than two refrigerated coaches, as said by National Security Council (MKN) Principal Assistant Secretary Left Col Mohd Sakri Hussain.
The first batch of remains of those who were on board MH17 have arrived in the Netherlands after leaving Kharkiv airport in Ukraine on a Dutch military aircraft.
All across the Netherlands, a moment of silence will be observed to honour those who died.
Netherlands will lead the investigation into the cause of the crash. Out of the 298 on board MH17, 192 were Dutch.
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that identifying the remains could take weeks or months and the next of kin would be the only ones informed.
DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang tweeted that the Prime Minister had gone over to the Opposition’s benches in Parliament to thank them for their support over the MH17 motion.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak had earlier today attended an emergency Parliament sitting over the tragedy.
Lim also said he wished the premier a “Happy 61st Birthday”.
According to a tweet by DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also conveyed his appreciation for DAP’s and Pakatan Rakyat’s support for the MH17 motion tabled in Parliament earlier today.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tweeted that he appreciated Chancellor Merkel’s phone call offering to help resolve issues on #MH17 together with Malaysia. Angela Merkel has been Germany’s Chancellor since 2005.
BBC news portal reported that the black boxes from downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 have arrived in the UK for analysis by air accident investigators, it has been confirmed.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said they had been delivered to its headquarters in Farnborough, Hampshire.
Prime Minister of The Netherlands Mark Rutte has declared Wednesday 23 July 2014 a day of national mourning. On this day, the bodies of the first victims of the MH17 air disaster will arrive in Eindhoven.
This will take place in the presence of their next of kin. Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, Prime Minister Rutte and Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher will also be present, as will representatives of countries whose nationals were among the victims, and other dignitaries.
After the two military aircraft have landed, a bugle will be sounded to mark the arrival in the Netherlands. A minute of silence will then be observed, in which everyone in the country can take part.
As part of this day of national mourning, Prime Minister Rutte has specially instructed that the flags outside all government buildings in the Netherlands be flown at half-mast.
Following the speech, the resolution was passed by deputy speaker Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said based on an unanimous motion by the house.
Responding to questions by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Alor Star MP Gooi Hsiao Leung and Bayan Lepas MP Sim Tze Tzin on whether the deal to secure the black boxes and recover the bodies from the pro-Russians came conditions, Muhyiddin reassured them that the deal came with no such conditions.
“It was a well-planned initiative and that no such conditions were set during the negotiations with the rebel forces,” he said.
Gooi also asked whether the government had recognised the rebel’s cause following reports of the documents signing made by the Malaysian team in Ukraine which recognised the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Muhyiddin said that while skilful negotiations were made to secure the black boxes and passengers’ remains, the statement produced by the Malaysian was not made on government orders.
He also responded to Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham that the severe action will be taken against the rebel forces if they are found guilty of shooting down the Mas aircraft.
“If it is proven beyond reasonable doubt and that they claimed responsibility for it. (Tiada maaf bagi mu) There is no forgiveness. We will take swift action,” he said.
Ngeh had earlier asked whether action will be taken against the pro-Russian rebels if they claim responsibility over the tragedy.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who wrapped up the debate on behalf of the government said that Malaysia will be seeking justice for the MH17 tragedy at international level.
While acknowledging that the country has no jurisdiction to conduct investigations or arrests at other countries, he expects commitment and co-operation from related countries remains a priority.
“All efforts will be taken to ensure those responsible are faced with justice, whether at international or domestic level,” he said.
In his winding up speech, Muhyiddin said Malaysia will be utilising its extra-territorial criminal application laws such as the Penal Code and the Aviation Offences Act 1984 to take action against the perpetrators responsible for the tragedy.
According to Tweets sent to BBC’s new portal 40 bodies of victims of Flight MH17 are heading to The Netherlands today. Sixteen of the remains were transported by a Dutch Hercules C-130 that just left Kharkiv airport and 24 on an Australian plane that will leave slightly later.
Pensiangan MP Tan Sri Joseph Kurup called for the government and Wisma Putra to organise an international sitting to discuss the MH17 incident with other countries and declare to condemn the attack, dubbing it the “Kuala Lumpur Civil Air Safety Declaration” in light of the tragedy.
Cheering the Parliament up, Kurup also praises on Najib for securing a deal with separatists using a recent FIFA World Cup results.
“The PM is definitely not a Brazil, but a Germany,” he said to the laughter of other MPs.
Stampin MP Julian Tan and Raub MP Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz, both from DAP also joins in conveying their birthday wishes to Najib as they present their respective motions, which the Premier responds by flashing a smile.
Despite courting much controversy, PAS’ Rantau Panjang MP Siti Zailah Yusof called on the government to impose MAS to not serve alcohol on board its flights.
Similar to her fellow party member, Kedah PAS Youth information chief Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman, who earned plenty of criticism for his recent statement, Siti Zailah also raised the issue of flight attendants’ uniform, which do not adhere to Muslim dress code.
“We do not want anyone to die in sin, which is why the government should pay attention to Islamic teachings.
“Perhaps we might have advanced technologies but this matter should not be viewed lightly as we cannot stop Allah’s might,” she said.
On a lighter note, Tanjung Manis MP Datuk Norah Abdul Rahman wished Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s happy birthday as he turns 61 today during her debate speech on the MH17 motion.
Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said called on all GLCs and local companies to support Mas by initialising a “Fly Mas First” campaign in light of both tragedies to keep the national airliner going.
In a fiery speech, she also called on the country to show no fear despite impending pressure from international powers such as the United States and Russia in seeking justice for the victims on board MH17.
“(Kami tak takut kepada Putin, tak takut kepada separatist) We do not fear Putin neither do we fear the separatist, but we fear the rakyat,” she said adding that the BN Backbenchers’ Council (BNBBC) wants to know who will be responsible for compensation for the victims.
The coffins are now being unloaded from the truck and laid out on the Tarmac in front of the military plane that will transport them to Holland at the Kharkiv airport, in Ukraine.
(Source: BBC twitter)
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok suggested the Parliament to set up a special committee to investigate and prepare findings on the tragedies involving Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and MH370. She also suggested that a White Paper on both tragedies to be tabled immediately to pursue the case in the international courts.
Supporting the call made by Kamaruddin, Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said the country cannot afford to be like (anjing menyalak ke bukit) “dogs barking up the hill” in appealing its case to other superpowers or international bodies.
Tumpat MP Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar called for the government to pull its ranks to fight for its rights despite being a small country.
Highlighting the current Gaza conflict whereby Israel under the support of the United States had bullied the Palestinian people as an example, he said the country should not allow itself to become a “pawn” for international superpowers in their own conflict.
Supported by Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa who added that at the moment while the world tries to blame Russia, the country should not be dragged into the matter.
While Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, suggested that all MPs to prepare a special report on MH17 for the Attorney-General to present to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to build an iron-clad case against the guilty parties.
In reconvening the emergency sitting of Parliament over the MH17 tragedy, following the lunch break, Keningau MP Joseph Pairin Kitingan suggested that the government should push for the United Nations (UN) to take serious action against the perpetrators of the incident.
He called for the UN to “walk to talk” by taking proactive action instead of merely approving a resolution to condemn the incident.
The Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) leader also urged the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to take accountability in determining the safest flight paths for all airliners, MAS included.
Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said the people responsible for shooting down MH17 can be charged in Holland.
The Bukit Katil MP explained that the Dutch law was recently amended to allow authorities to charge anyone from any part of the world who is suspected of killing a Dutch citizen.
This is one of the options the Attorney-General should consider.
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar presented that Malaysia, Ukraine and Russia are not members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) therefore there will be difficulties in bringing those responsible for shooting down MH17 to justice.
But there is a clause in the ICC which allows non-members to bring cases of murder to the court.
This one option available to the government.
Chaos erupted in Parliament after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong accused opposition MP Rafizi Ramli for posting a tweet warning the government to purportedly “not to use people’s money to bribe separatists”, referring to pro-Russian separatists in Kiev, Ukraine who are guarding the MH17crash site.
The accusation saw Rafizi, together with other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs seething with anger, after which Rafizi told the Parliament that the tweet was fake and that he was going to lodge a police report about it.
He also demanded that Wee retract his allegation and apologise.
Wee, however, nayed both the demands, and accused opposition members for “trying to find fault” with MAS and the government’s conduct in the wake of the national tragedy.
PR members then urged deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee to order Wee to retract his accusation, to which Kiandee refused, saying that Rafizi’s explanation on the matter has already been recorded.
PAS’ Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar stands up to express his condolences and sympathy on the tragedy on behalf of PAS, saying that Malaysia needs to ensure that aviation tragedies do not become a “series” in the country.
He expressed concern with the passage, saying that what happens during the interim of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) investigations on the KL-London route across the Syrian airspace conducted presently with the Syrian authorities.
“MAS should conduct its own independent risk analysis of the route first, like many other airlines do. Don’t rely solely on ICAO.
“I want the government to look into this to ensure that we can secure the safety of our planes,” he added.
“Don’t wait for another incident before re-routing.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is the Bagan MP, also agrees that “quiet diplomacy” was the right approach to ensure the remains and the black boxes can be secured.
“These might have breached diplomatic protocol, but it is something that is well worth it.
“The Ukraine government clearly has no effective control over the region, and PM has taken the risk to negotiate with someone who has not been recognised at all. The prime minister has our full support in this matter.”
Lim also says that he will stick to flying MAS despite the tragedy.
“Showing solidarity for MAS in these trying times is not limited to giving speech and words of encouragement alone.
“We would like stress here that we will continue flying with MAS, if time allows it.”
He also describes those who shot down the plane as “animals in human masks.”
Lim also seems to be leaning towards the accusation that the separatists shot down the plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
“Why would Ukraine military shoot down the plane when they know that the separatists do not have fighter jets?
“That leaves us with one scenario- that the separatists were somehow responsible for this act.”
Anwar throws his weight behind Najib, agreeing that negotiating with the separatists was necessary. His show of support for the Prime Minister is lauded by other MPs, who tap on their tables.
He said although Najib’s action in contacting the separatist leader (Alexander Borodai) courted controversy, he supports the Prime Minister’s decision since “a responsible leader must safeguard the public’s interests first.”
“To get things done, there is no easy way out, so we have to negotiate with the separatists who are controlling the region.”
Anwar also urges the government not to be afraid in dealing with superpowers.
“In facing this problem, I urge the government to ensure that the superpowers do not protect the real criminals.”
“I also express my condolences to the PM as he has also lost his step-grandmother in the incident.”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim moves that the House will not adjourn until the PM’s motion is fully debated and passed.
This was after Natural Resources and Environment Minister G Palanivel seconded Najib’s motion.The motion will go to debate with 12 BN MPs selected to debate it, and 10 Pakatan MPs, to be led off by Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, during an emergency sitting of Parliament today convened over the MH17 tragedy, read a motion calling on MPs from both sides of the divide to condemn the shooting down of the civilian aircraft and to demand for a thorough investigation.
Najib said the route taken by MH17 was certified safe by the Ukrainian authorities, and also by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). He adds that “several” other Asian airlines used the same route “hours” before the MH17 crash.
He said if the claims that the plane was shot down are true, it represented an “uncivilised and insolent” act by those responsible.
“But at the moment, we are not pointing fingers at anyone,” he adds.
Najib explained that his decision to negotiate with Ukranian separatist leader Alexander Borodai, whose troops control the crash site, was a “risk” he had to take in order to secure the bodies of those who perished and to be able to find out what actually happened to MH17.
“I did this because I promised the families here that the victims can be buried before Syawal,” he said, adding, that it would have been “extremely difficult” to make headway in the investigations without securing the black boxes.
Najib urges for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.
“Although a lot of effort has been made, many things are still left to be done. We will not stop mid-way. As such, investigation must be made by an independent body to determine the cause (of the incident).
“We demand for an immediate answer, whether the plane was shot by a missile and who was responsible for it? What were the motives and who supplied the weapon? Was the plane shot intentionally or was it a mistake? All these need concrete and clear evidence,” he says.
Najib said the Netherlands suffered a “huge” loss when the ratio of 192 of their citizens who died is compared with their population.
“To the families of the victims, I say worry not, because we will not stop seeking the truth,” he stressed.
Members of Parliament from both sides of the political divide stood up and observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane crash, at a special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat today.
The house also extended condolences to the families of the 298 passengers and crew of Flight MH17 which went down in eastern Ukraine last Thursday. The plane is believed to have been shot down.
As the Dewan Rakyat convened for the special sitting, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said he hoped that the families of the passengers and crew would be bold and courageous in facing their moment of grief.
“On July 17, the nation was shocked by the tragedy of MH17, a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
“I and all the MPs are saddened by the incident. The house prays and hopes that all efforts to secure and bring back the bodies of the victims will be executed smoothly,” he said.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the International Investigation team has decided to pass the black boxes from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 to the United Kingdom Air Accidents Investigation Branch for forensic analysis.
He said it was a normal procedure for black boxes to be sent for analysis to the nearest laboratory authorised by the International Civil Aviation Association.
“The black boxes will therefore be flown to Farnborough, United Kingdom, accompanied by Malaysian experts and other members of the international investigation team,” he said in a statement here today.
The International Investigation team is led by The Netherlands.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai announced today he was departing for Amsterdam soon to make sure the remains of those who had died on board MH17 could be transported back.
In a Facebook status, he wrote, “Although I’m physically tired, it will not stop me from completing my mission here.
“I want to make sure that the remains of the victims can be transported back and the truth is reveal through investigations, so we can prosecute the guilty.”
A train carrying the bodies of victims from MH17 has reportedly arrived in the Ukrainian government-held city of Kharkiv.
The bodies were carried on board the train in refrigerated wagons which travelled some 300 kilometres from Torez where they had been held earlier by armed separatists, according to Sky News.
The Malaysian investigation team in Donetsk confirmed they are now in possession of the two black boxes of MH17.
Bernama quoted the team leader Khairil Hilmi Mokhtar as saying that it will now be taken to the Netherlands before bringing it back to Malaysia.
The pro-Russian separatists governing the part of eastern Ukraine above which flight MH17 is thought to have been downed by a missile have handed the black box flight recorders to Malaysian authorities. At a ceremony in the city of Donetsk, Malaysia expressed its “sincere appreciation”.
The United Nations Security Council has condemned “in the strongest terms” the downing of Flight MH17.
Calling for an international investigation into the incident, the Council demanded that armed groups in the area allow unfettered access to the crash site and ensure its integrity was maintained.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, it supported efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international probe into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines.
Council members also insisted on “dignified, respectful and professional” treatment and recovery of the bodies of the victims, according to a statement issued by the UN News Centre.
The Dutch military plane that will transport the bodies of those who died has landed in Kharkiv, Ukraine, but the train carrying the bodies has been delayed.
Members of the Netherlands forensic investigation team LTFO arrived at the government-controlled city’s airport around 3am (1000 AEST) local time.
They’ll work with other experts in the difficult task of transferring the remains of almost 300 victims from a Soviet-era refrigerated train to the their C130 Hercules.
The Dutch team flew in on the C130 from Eindhoven on Tuesday morning.
They will repackage the bodies if necessary and take them as soon as possible to the Netherlands for identification.
The refrigerated train carrying those who perished aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17 left the rebel town of Torez in eastern Ukraine at 7pm local time on Monday.
It was initially hoped the train could make it to Kharkiv in around six hours but it has reportedly been delayed in Donetsk which has experienced sporadic military conflict.
It’s now expected to arrive later on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a midnight address said an agreement has been reached with Alexander Borodai to ensure that the two black boxes of Flight MH17 be handed over to the Malaysian team in Donetsk.
In charge of the region where the tragedy occurred, newsreports refer to Borodai as the prime minister of the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk.
“The two black boxes will be handed to the Malaysian team in Donetsk who will take custody of them,” Najib said in an address tonight.
He added that the independent international investigators will be guaranteed safe access to the crash site of MH17 in order to begin full investigations.
With regards to the bodies of those who had perished on board the ill-fated flight, Najib said an agreement was also reached after he spoke to Borodei tonight that the remains of 282 people which is currently in Torez will be moved by train to Kharkiv.
The bodies will then be handed over to representatives from the Netherlands.
“The train will depart this evening and will be accompanied by six Malaysian members of the recovery team,” Najib said.
After that, the bodies will be flown to Amsterdam on board a Dutch c-130 Hercules, accompanied by the Malaysian team.
He added that following any necessary forensic work, the remains of Malaysians will then be flown home.
MAS has pledged to provide support to the families of those who perished in the MH17 tragedy.
“The airline will be supporting the families during these trying times and will be providing them hotel accommodation, meals, and transport assistance.
“At the same time, the airline has assigned caregivers, who are trained Malaysia Airlines’ staff, for each family member to provide emotional support and basic needs,” said MAS in a statement.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said his country is prepared to give Netherlands the role of coordinator in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 investigation.
“As the side that suffered most, the Netherlands may lead the investigation in close coordination and cooperation with all other parties,” said Yatseniuk at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center today.
“All Ukrainian law enforcement bodies and international partners are already involved in conducting an all-encompassing, transparent, and full-fledged international investigation of the tragedy,” he said.
A committee investigating the MH17 disaster reportedly said 251 bodies have been discovered as well as 86 body fragments.
According to Reuters, a second train equipped with refrigerator wagons had arrived to take the bodies away
It was also said that the first train carrying bodies are stuck in a Torez station because “terrorists are blocking its exit.”
A separatist leader said on Sunday items, “presumably” the black boxes from the downed Malaysian airliner, had been found and brought to the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, where they were under “our control”.
Reuters reported: “Some items, presumably the black boxes, were found, and they have been delivered to Donetsk and they are under our control,” Aleksander Borodai, prime minister of the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic, told a news conference.
In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned Vladimir Putin “the world is watching” in a phone call urging the Russian leader to ensure investigators get access to the wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines disaster.
He made the call last night after joining other key European leaders to push for tighter sanctions on the Kremlin.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said Cameron made clear to President Putin the downing of the plane was “totally unacceptable”.
She added: “The evidence suggested pro-Russian separatists were responsible and the Prime Minister made clear that if Russia wants to put the blame elsewhere they would need to present compelling and credible evidence.
“The Prime Minister made clear that our priority is to get experts to the crash site so they can recover and repatriate the victims and collect any evidence necessary for the investigation.”
Malaysia is demanding immediate and unrestricted access to the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash site and guaranteed safety for its officials and those of the joint international investigation team.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said Malaysia also demanded that all human remains must be allowed to be recovered, identified and repatriated.
He said Kuala Lumpur was deeply concerned that the international team was effectively being prevented from entering the crash site.
“It’s imperative that international investigators as well as search and recovery personnel are afforded full and unhindered access to this site,” said the minister who arrived in Kiev on Sunday.
He noted that the only international body that had so far managed to briefly access the crash site was the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Liow met with the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who is chair of the Ukrainian Special Government Commission on MH17.
He also met Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Maksym Burbak and Denys Antonyuk, chairman of the Ukrainian State Aviation Administration.
“The Ukrainian government has stated that it has been unable to establish a safe corridor to the crash site for the international team…and it can’t guarantee the safety of the international team in and around the crash site,” Liow said.
The international investigation team, he said, comprised officials from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Although they have been unable to confirm this, CNN is reporting that one of the black boxes was found two days ago but who found it and who has it now is still unknown.
Reuters previously reported that the black boxes had been found though since then, both the Ukrainian authorities and the pro-Russian separatists, the Donetsk People’s Republic, have denied this.
The separatists initially said that if they were to find the black box, it would be sent to Moscow.
“The Ukrainian side has not been given access to any of the “black boxes”, or flight recording equipment, from the plane. As Security Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said at a briefing in Kyiv on July 19, their location remains unclear,” read a statement from the Ukranian Foreign Ministry.
MAS has announced that it will retire the MH17 flight code as a mark of respect for those who were on board the ill-fated flight.
Effective July 25, the Amsterdam – KL route will use a new code: MH19.
Malaysia has still not gotten access to the crash site of MH17, despite it being more than two days since the tragic incident.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told The Rakyat Post that Malaysia was still waiting for the green light to enter the site despite having Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and a 30-member Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) in Kiev.
International monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have observed that rebels at MH17′s crash site were “intoxicated and aggressive”.
OCSE had sent a team on a Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Hrabove, east of Donetsk in Ukraine after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was believed to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile while flying over Ukrainian airspace on Thursday night.
The SMM, in a press statement by the OCSE, said the mission had obtained limited access to the crash site, noting that dead bodies were visible.
Although the bodies were marked, SMM said they were “exposed to the elements”.
The mission members had also found that there was no systematic debris collection at the site. Read more here.
In a posting on the Ukrainian government’s website, it claimed that pro-Russian terrorists were preventing access to the location of MH17’s crash site.
Those from the international community and foreign governments were allegedly not allowed to enter, hence obstructing investigation.
Reported by Bernama in quoting the website, Ukraine claimed that terrorists had moved 38 bodies to a morgue in Donetsk. Read more here.
MAS has released the full passenger manifest, urging family members to also contact the airlines, particularly those they have yet to be able to get in touch with. Read more here.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, at a press conference on MH17 at the Sama-Sama Hotel in KLIA, confirmed he would be heading to Kiev tonight in order to help the investigation team gain access to the crash site in Ukraine.
“It is inhumane for the rebels to not give us access to the site,” Liow said, adding that the team there has not been given access to the site yet.
On recovery of the black boxes, Liow said there has been no confirmation yet on the matter.
“We are very concerned about the works at the site. We need to retrieve the human remains as fast as we can. We need the support of the world to make sure the site is not tampered.”
On MH17’s flight path, Liow reiterated that it did not deviate, and insisted the path was deemed safe by ICAO and that MH17 was travelling by the route approved by the ICAO and the control tower in Ukraine.
MAS director of operations Captain Izham Ismail said the airlines independent analysis on the route revealed that it was safe.
“It is normal for other airlines to also do their independent analysis on routes,” he said.
Al-Jazeera is reporting that bodies are being moved from the crash site in black body bags.
However, the report is unable to confirm the identity of those removing the bodies and whether they belong to any particular authority.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor personally met with the families of passengers on board flight MH17 at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel.
A total of 24 families were present, as reported by Bernama.
Bernama reported that United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent his condolences to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah on the MH17 tragedy.
UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces General Sheikh Mohamed b Zayed Al Nahyan, also sent their condolences to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
MAS has identified the nationalities of all 298 people on board MH17, with two passengers stated as having dual citizenships.
The breakdown is as follows: 192 from the Netherlands, which included one person carrying a dual citizenship from the United States, 44 on board were Malaysians, including two infants and 15 crew members, 27 on board were Australians, 12 Indonesians including one infant, 10 from the United Kingdom with one carrying a dual citizenship from South Africa, four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines, one Canadian and one New Zealander.
Defence minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today confirmed earlier reports that his and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s step-grandmother Sri Siti Amirah was on board MH17.
Earlier, The Star had said that Sri Siti Amirah was en route to Jogjakarta from Amsterdam, with a transit in KLIA via MH17.
Hishammuddin wrote on Twitter today that she was on board, saying, “Pls pray for her.”
MAS in its latest statement said it would be waiving any change fees for those who wish change their travel plans with the airlines.
It would also be issuing refunds, including for non-refundable tickets for those who wish to postpone or cancel their travel plans.
The fee waiver is applicable until July 24 for travel between now and December 31, 2014.
Heartbreaking photos of items most likely belonging to passengers, still intact are making its way across the internet as well.
There were books, travel guides, and even more devastating, stuffed toys that possibly belonged to the innocent children on board.
The unprotected area, in which MH17, its passengers and crew, luggage and cargo is scattered across, has become a target for looters.
The cold-hearted act of raiding and taking possessions that belonged to the victims could also affect the investigation into the tragedy, according to USA Today.
Meanwhile, The Wire shared in their report, a Facebook posting by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukraine’s interior minister.
He had noted that among the items looted were jewelry and credit cards, urging the relatives of those on board MH17 to freeze the credit cards immediately “so they will not loose their assets to terrorists.
The Armed Forces said they are fully prepared to assist wherever they can with regards to the MH17 tragedy.
Its chief General Tan Sri Zulkefli Mohd Zin was quoted by Bernama as saying that two C-130 Hercules aircraft will be deployed to Ukraine to assist MAS in its MH17 post-tragedy Investigation and Management Team.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a special address, said he will convene an emergency parliament sitting to table a motion condemning the suspected shooting of flight MH17.
He also said the Jalur Gemilang will be flown half mast nationwide from tonight until Monday.
The Netherlands today flew their flags at half-mast in mourning the tragedy of MH17.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a Dutch senator Willem Witteveen was also on board the ill-fated aircraft, quoting the Dutch Senate in a statement on their website.
Zurusdi Mohd Hol, 46, cousin of a Shell employee who was on board MH17 with his family, Tambi Jiee, agreed to an interview with the media at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel this evening.
A dog, pigeons and other birds as well as aircraft parts were among the cargo on board MH17 according to its cargo manifest, which MAS released this evening.
The Boeing 777 was also carrying helicopter parts, textile, diplomatic mail and fresh cut flowers.
For more on the cargo manifest, click here.
In its latest press statement, MAS said MH17’s flight path had been approved by Eurocontrol.
(Eurocontrol is the air navigation service provider for Europe and is governed under ICAO rules.)
Reiterating that MH17 was not flying over a restricted area, MAS said ICAO identified earlier in April, a risky area which was over the Crimean peninsula.
MAS said MH17 did not fly into or request to fly into the Crimean peninsula.
On the aircraft’s altitude, MAS said MH17 was cruising at 35,000 feet over Ukrainian airspace which was close to the ‘optimum’ altitude.
“However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, on current MAS flights, it will now avoid the Ukrainian space entirely and will fly further south over Turkey.
MAS has released an updated list of the nationalities on board MH17, with 4 still unverified: Netherlands 189, Malaysia 44, Australia 27, Indonesia 12, United Kingdom 9, Belgium 4, Germany 4, the Philippines 3, Canada 1 and New Zealand 1.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tweeted that he spoke to UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon over the phone soon after breaking fast.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on his Twitter account that the special address would be delayed for a few hours.
The Smart team has arrived at KLIA, ready to leave for Kiev.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has offered his condolences to his counterpart Tony Abbott over the loss of Australian lives on board MH17.
“Appreciate his support for us in trying times,” he tweeted.
Earlier Najib said that he cancelled many programmes as he had to attend to issues related to the tragedy, including getting in touch with various world leaders.
An expert says the route over Ukraine was used by many airlines, among them are Singapore Airlines, Air India, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, Alitalia and Air France.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is expected to deliver a special address on MH17 over RTM1 at 8.10pm, according to Bernama.
Tahlil prayers for the what is believed to be MAS flight MH17 pilot Captain Wan Amran Wan Hussin is expected to be held at a surau in Alam Impian, Shah Alam, tonight.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says that Transport Minister did well to stress that Malaysia Airlines was not the only one to use the ill-fated route.
Khairy said this on his Twitter account after a couple of questions by the foreign media to Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai attempted to pin the blame on the national carrier.
“It’s not the route selection that resulted in these deaths. It’s some terrorist deciding to shoot our plane that caused these deaths,” Khairy wrote.
Transport Ministry Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai at a press conference on MH17 indicated that Malaysia has yet to confirm that the aircraft was shot down, saying that should what officials in the US and Ukraine are saying about the attack on the plane was true, it would have contravened international law and is an outrage.
“Malaysia condemns such actions and calls for those responsible to be swiftly brought to justice,” Liow said.
Liow added that updates on the investigations will be provided to the families by the investigation authourities as per ICAO guidelines
“It is essential that the integrity of the crash site be preserved out of respect for the investigation and those who have died,” he said.
On whether the route was safe, Liow stood by what ICAO and IATA had said that there were no restrictions placed on the route, adding that there were no last minute instructions given to the pilot of MH17 to change the path route of the flight.
Meanwhile, Liow said 40 MAS staff will fly to Amsterdam to support the families there.
“Malaysia will dispatch a special Malaysia disaster assistance and rescue team (Smart) of 62 people – 30 Smart team members, 15 medical team members, 10 Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) representatives, 5 MAS staff, 2 Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) staff are going to Kiev.”
The Smart team members, according to Liow will recover the remains as well as any records they can get.
On the nationalities on board, MAS is still attempting to verify some 20 more passengers who had transited in Amsterdam and did not go through passport check at Schiphol.
Those who have been verified are as follows: 173 Netherlands, 44 Malaysia, 27 Australia, 12 Indonesia, 9 United Kingdom, 4 German, 4 Belgium, 3 the Philippines, 1 Canada, 1 New Zealand.
Liow said that once all family members have been notified, the passenger manifest will be released, adding that later today, MAS will also release the cargo manifest.
“We have assurance from the minister of foreign affairs Ukraine that they will provide us with a safe corridor to the crash site.”
The MCA is advising Malaysians, especially netizens, to be responsible when disseminating news regarding the crash of MH17.
Its Publicity Bureau Chairman Marco Yap, in a statement said, any information they wished to share should be confirmed by the relevant authorities first, such as the related government agencies, MAS, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“Criticisms and insults will not help resolve this tragedy, and spreading unverified news will only be adding salt to the wounds already suffered by the relatives of the victims”.
Quoting the Ukrainian State Service of Emergency Situations, Russia’s ITAR-TASS News Agency said 121 bodies have been found at the crash site of MH17.
At present, 95 emergency workers with 18 machinery units are involved in the search and rescue operations at the site.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in an address on MH17 said an Emergency State Commission has been established to investigate the reasons of the disaster.
“Experts from the ICAO, the Netherlands, Malaysia and the United States have been involved in its work,” he said.
MAS clarified that the aircraft operating MH17 had a clean maintenance record.
The B777-200 aircraft bearing registration number 9M-MRD’s last maintenance check was on July 11, 2014 and its next check is due on Aug 27.
“The maintenance was conducted at Malaysia Airlines’ hangar at KLIA. The aircraft had a clean bill of health,” the statement read, adding that all communication system on the Flight were functioning normally.
The statement had also released background information on the aircraft: Manufactured in July 1997, recorded 75,322 hours with a total of 11,434 cycles, uses the Rolls-Royce Trent-800 engine, seats 282.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had just touched down in Beijing when he heard the news about MH17.
The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has released a statement mourning the Australians killed.
Our hearts go out to the families of all the dead.
At least 27 Australians citizens have lost their lives on flight MH17. Nine resided in Queensland, nine in Victoria, seven in Western Australia, one in the ACT and one in New South Wales.
We can’t restore them to life but we can and will do everything to support them in this sad and bitter time because that is the Australian way – we help in times of trouble.
Counselling, consular and all possible assistance will be provided to the families during the difficult days ahead.
Nabeelah Shabbir has written in tribute of her friend Pim de Kuijer, who was on board the plane heading to the Melbourne Aids conference.
“Pim’s last post and photo is from Schiphol airport. His friends and acquaintances will continue to mourn him online, as we are so used to in our generation. I don’t think Pim and I were even on Facebook when we met. My friendship with him symbolises an era when so many of us young Europeans were looking for each other, to work together, to share our languages, in the mid-00s. At 32, he was one year older than me.”
“I’ve spoken briefly to Pim’s brother, Paul, on Facebook. He is happy for our support, and for everyone to know how wonderful Pim was, though there are plenty of others who can attest to that far better than I.”
The White House has called for an immediate ceasefire supported by Russia, Ukraine and separatist forces, to allow an international investigation.
It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. We urge all concerned – Russia, the pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine – to support an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains.
The statement – which expands on earlier sentiments expressed by the secretary of state, John Kerry – also said the role of international organisations such as the UN and the OSCE will be “particularly relevant,” and US government officials will liaise with them and relevant countries.
In the meantime, it is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way and that all potential evidence and remains at the crash site are undisturbed. The United States remains prepared to contribute immediate assistance to any international investigation, including through resources provided by the NTSB and the FBI.
While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fueled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel, and training. This incident only highlights the urgency with which we continue to urge Russia to immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support a sustainable cease-fire and path toward peace that the Ukrainian government has consistently put forward.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has released a statement condemning Russian aggression in the Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that one Canadian was killed in the plane crash.
Earlier today, I was shocked and saddened to learn that a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet en route from the Netherlands to Malaysia was shot down in eastern Ukraine, killing all on board. We understand from reports that a Canadian citizen is among the dead. On behalf of the Government of Canada, Laureen and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the victims of this outrageous act.
While we do not yet know who is responsible for this attack, we continue to condemn Russia’s military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine, which is at the root of the ongoing conflict in the region.
Canada stands ready to provide whatever support it can to assist authorities in determining the cause of the crash.”
Delegates from the Aids conference are speaking in Canberra, Australia, at a pre-arranged event at the National Press Club.
Professor Francoise Barré-Sinousi opened her address with a tearful statement on the reports that a number of delegates were on board the plane.
She said if it is confirmed that her colleagues were onboard, she is devastated.
“Right now our thoughts are with their family. It will be a great loss for the HIV/Aids community.
I had the privilege to work close with them… If it is confirmed it will be a terrible loss for all of us. I have no word really to try to express my sadness, I feel totally devastated if it is confirmed.”
Barré-Sinousi received the 2008 Nobel laureate in medicine for her role in discovering HIV, and is the president of the international Aids society and international co-chair of Aids 2014.
James Brown, a Military Fellow at Australian think tank, the Lowy Institute, writes that the US analysts who pinpointed part of the missile launch should also be able to find the launcher.
This means it will be up to the US to make the case as to who fired the missile, potentially putting Washington in a position of greater direct confrontation with Russia (beyond recently announced sanctions).
The only family member who spoke to media, Datin Siti Dina said her daughter Sherliza Zaini was travelling from Amsterdam with her Dutch husband and three kids.
“They were visiting family and were on their way back to Melbourne where they live,” said the obviously distraught woman.
Siti heard the news at 12.30am on CNN.
She then called her daughter’s brother in law who confirmed that he had sent the family to the airport.
She told reporters this briefly at Anjung Tinjau at KLIA.
An unidentified passenger who missed doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, saying: “I am shaken, I don’t even know what to do and I feel physically sick.”
This woman was supposed to board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 but didn’t make it to the airport in time.
She was en route for another flight when she learned the plane had crashed in eastern Ukraine.
“And I was from, like, the Hilton (hotel) in The Hague coming to the airport in the taxi and I was just crying. I am just thinking that I feel like I have been given a second chance and hopefully (the flight she is now booked on) will get there safely and I will see my family again. I need to go.”
White House calls for Ukraine ceasefire for investigation.
The White House has called for an immediate ceasefire supported by Russia, Ukraine and separatist forces, to allow an international investigation.
It is critical that there be a full, credible and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. We urge all concerned – Russia, the pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine – to support an immediate ceasefire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains.
The statement – which expands on earlier sentiments expressed by the secretary of state, John Kerry – also said the role of international organisations such as the UN and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will be “particularly relevant”, and US government officials will liaise with them and relevant countries.
In the meantime, it is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way and that all potential evidence and remains at the crash site are undisturbed. The United States remains prepared to contribute immediate assistance to any international investigation, including through resources provided by the NTSB and the FBI.
While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fuelled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel and training. This incident only highlights the urgency with which we continue to urge Russia to immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support a sustainable ceasefire and path toward peace that the Ukrainian government has consistently put forward.
The US secretary of state John Kerry has released a statement saying he is “horrified” by the crash and has called for a “credible” investigation.
There are no words adequate to express our condolences to the families of the nearly 300 victims.
We offer our sympathies and support to the governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands at this difficult time, as well as to all those whose citizens may have been on board. We are reviewing whether any American citizens were aboard the flight.
The United States Government remains prepared to assist with a credible, international investigation any way we can, and we will continue to be in touch with all relevant partners as we seek the facts of what happened today.
Malaysia Airlines will release the passenger list once all families of the victims have been notified.
Malaysia Airlines has immediately changed the routes of its European flights to avoid the region.
“With immediate effect, all European flights operated by Malaysia Airlines will be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route,” said a statement from the airline.
“The usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.”
However Central Queensland University accident investigation and safety specialist professor Geoff Dell says the airline should never have been flying over the country.
“From as soon as the conflict started they shouldn’t have been going anywhere near it,” Dell said.
“They should’ve shifted to alternate routes, like all the other airlines seemed to have done.
“You just don’t go anywhere near it unless you’ve got no alternatives and there’s always the alternative of not going.”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak confirmed that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has declared the flight path of MH17 as safe.
Najib also stated that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had said the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subjected to restriction.
Meanwhile, he said MAS confirmed the aircraft did not make a distress call and that it was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members.
MAS is also in the process of notifying the next of kin and all possible care will be provided to them.
“The government of Malaysia is despatching a special flight to Kiev carrying rescue team as well as medical team,” he said.
According to information provided by Kiev, the location of the planes emergency locator beacon is 48 degrees 7 minutes and 23 seconds north and 38 degree, 31 minutes and 33 seconds east.
“The Ukrainian authority believes the plane was shot down, at this stage however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy. We must and we will find out precisely what happened. No stone will be left unturned. If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice,” Najib said.
He added that emergency ops centre has been established and that in the last few hours, Malaysia has been in contact with its counterparts in Ukraine and elsewhere.
Najib said the President of Ukraine has also pledged there will be a full, thorough and independent investigations and Malaysian officials will be invited to take part.
A humanitarian corridor must also be established to the crash site, Najib said.
“President Obama and I both agree that investigation must not be hindered in anyway. International team must have full access to the crash site. No one should interfere or move debris including the black box.”
“This is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia. As we work to understand what happened, our thoughts and prayers are with family and friends of those on board. I cannot imagine what they must be going through at this time.”
“Regardless of nationality, we are all united in grief,” Najib said ending the press conference.
The press conference by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has just started at the Sama-Sama Hotel in KLIA.
Cor Pan, believed to be a passenger on board MH17 had apparently uploaded a photograph of the aircraft before boarding it yesterday.
The chilling part of his upload was he had captioned it, in Dutch, “This is what it looks like in case it goes down”.
BBC reported that Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, has claimed to have proof that MH17 was gunned down by pro-Russian separatists, adding that Kiev will publish intercepted phone conversations between militants where some men were talking about having shot down a civilian plane.
However, separatist leader Alexander Borodai told a Russian state-run TV that the plane was gunned down by Ukrainian air force.
According to the Wall Street Journal, US intelligence agencies confirmed that a ground-to-air missile was fired at MH17.
However, officials said the intelligence community was divided on whether the missile came from Russia or East Ukraine.
Flightradar24 released a photo of planes that were flying near MH17 when it went down.
“Singapore Airlines SQ351 (B777) and Air India AI113 (B787) were about 25 km from #MH17,” Flightradar24 said.
Some 100 reporters are waiting for the press conference by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak expected to commence anytime soon.
Also expressing their shock is the European Union (EU), calling for all sides to determine who was responsible for what happened to MH17.
Russia Today quoted an official communiqué which was published by Brussels as saying that the EU calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into the causes of the crash.
Dutch King Willem Alexander issued a press statement saying he was deeply shocked by what has happened to MH17.
“Just like the rest of the Netherlands, my wife and I follow the news to the minute and we hope to have more clarity soon. We offer or deepest sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims and to those who are still uncertain if their loved ones were on board the plane,” the statement read.
Indonesia’s Metro TV said that so far, on their side, one Indonesian is rumoured to be among those on board MH17.
Meanwhile, other relatives have been urged to report to the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia (Embassy) in Kuala Lumpur.
“Report immediately to the Embassy in Kuala Lumpur or Embassy in the Netherlands, in the Hague. So that we can crosscheck,” said Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur Herman Prayitno in a news report by Metro TV.
He explained that the families can come to Kuala Lumpur, to seek out news of MH17 passengers.
Accommodation in Malaysia for the families from Indonesia will apparently be borne by MAS.
A three day cease fire has been agreed by the separatists, according to Reuters, in order to allow for recover work at the crash site of MH17.
Several family members of those on board MH17 claimed that the national carrier was slow in providing information on what has happened to the Boeing 777 aircraft.
When met at the KLIA tonight, one family member who declined to be named said that information on what happened was initially obtained from the social networking site Facebook.
They then rushed to KLIA after several international news agencies began airing reports that the plane had reportedly been gunned down over Ukrainian airspace.
The family member said they had been waiting for four hours at the airport, however MAS has yet to furnish them with the flight manifest.
“We want to know what has happened to our family members,” one of the family members at the airport said.
AFP has a photo of Flight MH17 taking off from the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, hours after it was reportedly gunned down over Ukraine.
The missile that had allegedly taken down MH17 was reportedly built during the Cold War era and could hit targets up to 72,000 feet in the air, according to a report by The New York Post.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called what happened to MH17 as an “act of terrorism”, as reported by The Telegraph.
He had also earlier denied that Ukraine was responsible for gunning down the aircraft.
According to the Associated Press, Poroshenko said while he did not deny the plane could have been shot down, the Armed Forces of Ukraine was not responsible for action taken against any airborne targets.
ABC’s Nightline tweeted that John Wendle, a freelance writer and videographer for Getty Images said that rebel fighters have secured and are also allegedly in control of the crash site of MH17.
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed his dismay over what had happened to MH17.
In a press statement, Rutte said, “Very much is still unclear about the facts, the circumstances and the passengers.”
As reported by NL Times, Rutte his cancelling his holiday and is returning to the Netherlands, adding that he would monitor and handle the situation.
MAS sources say the nationalities of those on board are still being verified with 62 still unknown.
Meanwhile, the rest are as follows: Netherlands 143, Australia 27, Malaysia 20 (including 2 infants), Indonesia 11 (including 1 infant), United Kingdom 6, Germany 4, Belgium 3, the Philippines 3, Canada 1.
Tech crew: 4 males (Malaysia).
Cabin crew: 3 males, 8 females (Malaysia).
The administrator of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Twitter account uploaded a photo of the Prime Minister in a briefing at the Emergency Ops Centre in KLIA on MH17.
As confusion arose on whether MH17 was flying over airspace that was open to civilian planes, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in a statement said the airspace that MH17 was traversing was not subject to restrictions, as reported by Russia Today.
Meanwhile, Dutch airlines KLM, in a statement on its website, confirmed that MH17 was a codeshare with its own KL4103 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
” As a precautionary measure KLM avoids flying over the concerned territory,” KLM said.
Pro-Russian separatists have reportedly said they have found the black box of Flight MH17, as reported by Interfax.
The news agency also said the plane was believed to have been brought down by a BUK ground-to-air missile.
Harian Metro has interviewed what is believed to be the wife of the pilot of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 who said her husband contacted her at 4.40pm on Thursday.
The online version of the local Malay daily quoted the woman as saying that her husband informed her, he was boarding the flight from Amsterdam to the KL International Airport (KLIA).
“He told me see you tomorrow,” she had reportedly told Harian Metro, declining to comment further as she was still in a state of shock.
Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, US President Barack Obama said they were working on determining whether there were any Americans on board MH17, adding they will offer help wherever they can.
He also said his thoughts and prayers are with the families of those on board.
Reuters quoted the head of Ukrainian airspace regulatory body as saying that MH17 was flying as per normal before it disappeared from radar.
Various news agencies have begun sharing photos of the wreckage site where MH17 had reportedly gone down.
According to Russia Today, planes are currently avoiding flying over Ukrainian airspace after MH17 was said to have gone down in Donetsk.
The report quoted Flightradar24 said airlines are redirecting their flightpaths to avoid the area where MH17 had went down.
A NOTAM (notice to airmen) was also said to have been issued to US airlines to avoid flying over Ukraine.
“After the incident we have decided to avoid Ukrainian airspace,” a Turkish Airlines spokesman was quoted as saying by Russia Today.
Videos have cropped up with regards to MH17 being shot down over Ukrainian air space. The one below was said to have been shot by an amateur and uploaded on YouTube.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has issued a statement, expressing his deepest and most sincere condolences to friends and relatives of the deceased who were on board MH17.
“All possible search-and-rescue operations are being conducted,” his statement read.
“The Head of State addressed the Cabinet of Ministers to immediately establish the State commission to investigate the given tragedy. We are confident that those responsible for the given tragedy will be brought to justice.”
MAS is expected to hold a press conference at 4am at the Sama-Sama Hotel in KLIA.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman has arrived at the Flight Management Building at the KLIA accompanied by Army Chief General Tan Sri Zulkifeli bin Mohd. Zin.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak entered the Flight Management Building at the KL International Airport (KLIA).
Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said Wisma Putra is working closely with the Russian and Ukrainian authorities to investigate what has happened to MH17.
An MAS official confirmed with The Rakyat Post that there are no survivors.
The Malaysian Embassy in Russia said they have yet to receive any official word on the incident involving Flight MH17, when contacted by The Rakyat Post tonight.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has arrived at the KL International Airport (KLIA).
CCTV News tweeted that Russian president Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
According to The Guardian, local emergency workers were reported as having said that 100 bodies had been found so far with wreckage scattered across an area nine miles in diameter.
The entire MAS operations have been placed in the ‘red zone’, this means all MAS caregivers will help the families of those on board in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.
An MAS official told The Rakyat Post MH17 was flying at 35,000 feet in a very heavy air-traffic area.
“There is no reason for the plane to just drop off the sky, it was most likely shot down, unless there was a mid-air explosion or collission,” the official said.
“Under heavy radar control, this could not have happened,” he added.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is expected to arrive at KLIA operations room in ten minutes from now.
MAS has released a press statement saying that it received notification from the Ukrainian air-traffic controller (ATC) that it had lost contact with MH17 at 10.15pm Malaysian time.
The location of the aircraft at that time was 30 kilometres from the Tamak waypoint, approximately 50 kilometres from the Russia-Ukraine border.
Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted a Ukrainian ministry official who said the plane was gunned down over the eastern part of the country by militants.
Anton Gerashchenko said the plane came down near the city of Donetsk, stronghold of pro-Russian rebels, and that it was hit by a ground-to-air missile.
“A civilian airliner travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has just been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft system … 280 passengers and 15 crew have been killed,” he was quoted as saying.
“I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation,” said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Twitter.
MAS said on its Twitter feed it had lost contact with its flight MH17 from Amsterdam, “The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.”
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein meanwhile asked for the public to remain calm.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has reportedly been shot down over Ukraine, with various news agencies worldwide crediting Interfax over the incident.