Disaster struck again Malaysia Airlines. Four months after Flight MH370 first went mysteriously missing on March 8, another Malaysia Airlines plane, flight MH17, went into peril. Global reports surmise the airliner was a victim of tensions between Ukraine and Russia, purposely shot down and killing all 295 onboard.
Officials from Malaysia Airlines and the Amsterdam airport, where Boeing 777 flight MH17 to Kuala Lumpur originated, gave the list of fatalities:
- 154 Dutch passengers.
- 27 from Australia.
- 23 from Malaysia.
- 11 Indonesians.
- Six from the United Kingdom.
- Four from Germany.
- Four from Belgium.
- Three from the Philippines.
- One from Canada
- Plus, the 15-member crew who were all Malaysian nationals.
Names have yet to be released.
"We have managed to identify 30 corpses," the Washington Post quoted Konstantin Batozsky, an adviser to Donetsk regional governor Serhiy Taruta. "They are scattered in a range of four kilometres [2.5 miles] around. It's absolutely horrible."
Officials added there were still about 47 passengers whose nationalities are still being tracked.
"We are working with local authorities to gather more information on the situation. Consular officials in Ottawa stand ready to provide consular assistance to the families of the victims," Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement to CBC News. "Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the passengers and crew on board flight MH17."
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday said the crash was "possibly the worst air accident in Dutch history."
U.S. intelligence had confirmed the Malaysia Airlines plane was brought down by an antiaircraft or surface-to-air missile, then later crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
Malaysian Airlines flight MH017's last known position (air traffic control sources): N48.56 E37.21 pic.twitter.com/fPd9eAhcQz
— gian paolo accardo (@gpaccardo) July 17, 2014
"We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a statement. "We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible."
"We call it neither an incident, nor a disaster, but a terrorist act."
Analysts have yet to determine which country between Ukraine and Russia fired the missile.
"This is a contested area," the Washington Post quoted an unidentified U.S. intelligence official. "It's going to take time to get some information on the intentions of whoever was involved."
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the airspace that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was traversing "was not subject to restrictions."
He added the fact the plane "did not make a distress call" meant something sudden and urgent had happened to the plane before it went down.
On its Web site, Malaysia Airlines said it received an advise from the Ukrainian air traffic control that it had lost contact with Flight MH17 over Ukraine about 36 miles from the border with Russia.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 had 280 passengers and 15 crew onboard. It left Amsterdam at 12:15 p.m. local time Thursday and was scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 6:10 a.m. local time Friday.
— Royal Dutch Airlines (@KLM) July 17, 2014