A Malaysian airliner, which was heading to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, was shot down over the Russian and Ukrainian border. The passenger airline was reportedly carrying 283 passengers and 15 members of the crew. According to reports, 27 Australians have been killed in the crash. There were reportedly 154 Dutch passengers on the plane, 45 Malaysian, 12 Indonesian and 9 passengers were British nationals. Videos have surfaced online of the moment when the plane crashed on the ground.
The Telegraph has reported that many passengers were travelling to attend the week-long 20th International AIDS conference, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday, in Melbourne, Australia. Julie Bishop, foreign minister of Australia, has confirmed the report. The crashed Flight MH17 was scheduled to continue flying to Perth after stopping in Kuala Lumpur, Bishop has said.
Michael Sidibe, UNAIDS Director, who is in Melbourne, posted on Twitter: "My thoughts & prayers to families of those tragically lost on flight #MH17. Many passengers were enroute to #AIDS2014 here in #Melbourne."
"This is a grim day for our country and it's a grim day for our world," Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, as quoted by Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), said in parliament. "As things stand this looks less like an accident than a crime. And if so the perpetrators must be brought to justice."
Bill Shorten, opposition leader, said in parliament: "There are Australians who would have planned to be at the airport tomorrow night to greet friends and family -- amongst them, some of the world's leading AIDS experts."
Boston Globe has reported that the American intelligence authorities "now believe" that a surface-to-air missile was shot at Malaysia Airline. According to reports, Russian-supported Ukrainian separatists are behind the missile attack. However, Boston Globe has said that the intelligence authorities are yet to determine whether the missile came from the Russian side or from the Ukraine side.
Daniel Sandford of BBC has reported that the Malaysian Airline apparently crashed down in the area, which is right in the centre of the part that is controlled by pro-Russian, anti-Kiev rebels.
Australian Prime Minister, however, did not mince his words and blamed Russia for stirring-up trouble, which has resulted in the tragedy. "They (the militants) are Russian proxies essentially," he said, as quoted by SMH, adding that "this is only happening because Russia wants to stir up trouble."
"Now, it's important that we don't make a situation worse, but if, as now sees certain, it has been brought down by a Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile, Russia bears a heavy share of responsibility."
Here are the Numbers to Call:
From Overseas: 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 61 2 6261 3305
From Within Australia: 1300 555 135
Amateur Videos have surfaced online that features the coming down of the Malaysian Airline. Here are the videos:
[Youtube/All U Need]
[Youtube/All U Need]