Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukrainian border with at least one New Zealander feared dead including 27 Australians among the 295 passengers. According to reports, the crashed MH17 was hit by a surface-to-air missile on the early morning of July 18, New Zealand time.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the ministry was looking into reports of at least one passenger holding a New Zealand passport and others who have ties or family members in the country. He said officials are still in the process of confirming the details and contacting the next of kin.
The crashed plane reportedly had no survivors. In a statement, McCully sent his condolences to the families of those onboard who were believed to have died in the crash. He urged authorities to conduct a full probe on the matter with independent investigators on the crash site.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when the airlines lost contact with the plane. Reports said it made no distress call. Those on board have different nationalities as revealed by an incomplete flight manifest listing 154 Dutch, 27 Australians, 23 Malaysians, 11 Indonesians, six British nationals, four Germans, four French, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one Canadian. The nationalities of other 58 passengers are yet to be determined.
New Zealand Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae said he was "deeply shocked" with the news of the MH17 crash. He said it was terrible news for the families and friends of those on board. He sent his thoughts and sympathies to them.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement that perpetrators must be "brought to justice" to pay for the crime.
Reports said a local military commander had allegedly posted this on social media, "A plane has been shot down. We didn't want you flying in our airspace." Speculations continue whether it was an admission since there was no direct statement referring to the act of shooting the plane down with a missile.
Kiwi misses death plane
A Kiwi sailor and husband of Masterchef winner Chelsea Winter, Mike Bullot, has been spared from death by missing flight MH17. In a report by the NZ Herald, Bullot said he almost checked in for MH17 on July 16 but was told it was overbooked. Airline ground crew had placed him on standby.
Apparently thankful, Bullot posted on his Facebook wall that it was a "good day to be alive."