In an eerie echo of the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 this past spring, the airline has lost another Boeing 777, this time after a crash in Ukraine today as the jetliner carrying 295 people was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was flying near the Russia-Ukraine border reportedly at 33,000 feet when it came apart and crashed in rural eastern Ukraine, in an area where fighting is taking place between pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists and Ukranian forces.
Video of the crash scene showed thick black smoke rising from the countryside near the border, not far from where a Ukrainian transport plane was shot down on Monday. There are also still photographs of pieces of widely scattered wreckage of a Boeing 777 in Malaysia Airlines livery, as well as of victims. The wide scattering of the debris means that the airplane came apart for some reason at altitude, which is consistent with a missile strike or bomb detonation. No evidence of either has yet been uncovered.
A spokesman for Ukraine’s interior minister told Bloomberg that the jetliner was shot down by Russia-backed Ukrainian rebels, a claim the rebels are denying. The Ukranian government is denying that it fired any missiles around the time of the crash. It is feared that all 280 passengers and 15 crew members were killed in the crash.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, also a Boeing 777, disappeared on March 8 and is presumed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
Robert Goyer contributed to this report.
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