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Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:38:18 +0000
(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) -- A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane went down Thursday after the airline said it had "lost contact" with one of its flight over Ukraine near the Russian border.
The airline said in a tweet that the Boeing 777 plane -- Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur with 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board -- had its "last known position was over Ukraine airspace."
The plane had left Amsterdam at 12:15 p.m. (local time) and was estimated to arrive in Kuala Lampur International Airport on Friday at 6:10 a.m. (local time), according to Malaysia Airlines.
Flight radar shows the plane was lost somewhere on the eastern border of Ukraine.
Photos showed a large plume of black smoke near where the plane was believed to have gone down. The fate of the passengers aboard the plane remains unknown. It is not known if any Americans were on board at the time.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed that the plane "disappeared from radar screens."
"In recent days, this is the third tragic accident after the Russian territory were downed aircraft AN-26 and SU-25 Armed Forces of Ukraine. We do not exclude that this aircraft was also shot down, and stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not commit any action to defeat the purposes of the air," he added in a statement.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry in Kiev said, "A large passenger aircraft Boeing 777, performing a flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur, was shot down in the eastern part of Ukraine. According to the General Staff of Ukrainian Armed Forces, the airplane was shot down by the Russian Buk missile system as the liner was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters. Ukraine has no long-range air defense missile systems in this area. The plane was shot down, because the Russian air defense systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area. Ukraine will present the evidence of Russian military involvement into the Boeing crash."
The White House said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, near the end of Thursday morning's call with President Obama, noted the reports about a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a tweet, "On reports of tragic Malaysian plane crash: at this time US do not have any conformation of cause, individuals on plane or any addl details"
This is the second Malaysia Airlines plane to be involved in a crash this year.
On March 8, Flight MH370 vanished with 239 people on board after it took off from Kuala Lampur bound for Beijing. Malaysian officials said the plane disappeared somewhere in the Southern Indian Ocean, but no wreckage has ever been recovered.
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