Passenger Jet Shot Down in Ukraine: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 298 people was shot down and crashed today near the Russian border with Ukraine, killing everyone onboard. The Boeing 777, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was struck by a missile above the war-torn region.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Reports of Americans Dead Have Been Denied

Initial reports from Reuters indicated that of the nearly 300 people on board, 23 were U.S. citizens. However, as of Friday morning, only 20 of the passengers’ nationalities have yet to be announced, with no Americans announced so far. President Obama said in a speech in Delaware that investigators were still working to confirm how many Americans were onboard.

Buzzfeed reports that an internal Obama administration email indicates none of the passengers checked in with a U.S. passport.

And this tally from USA Today includes zero Americans:

The passport of one passenger, a Dutch doctor named Jolette Nuesink, was found among the wreckage.

The nationalities of 278 passengers that have been announced bread down as follows:

173 Netherlands
27 Australia
44 Malaysia
12 Indonesia
9 UK
4 Germany
4 Belgium
3 Philippines
1 Canada
1 New Zealand

One passenger, Cor Pan, from the Netherlands, left an ominous Facebook message just prior to boarding:

The message joked that he was posting a photo of the plane in case it “disappeared,” a reference to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Cor Pan was on the flight with his wife.

2. The United States Confirms That the Plane Was Shot Down by a Surface-to-Air Missile

Anton Geraschenko, an advisor in the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs, said the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists armed with Russia’s Buk missile system, described in the video below. It’s capable of striking targets up to 60,000 feet; the Malaysia flight was struck at its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet.

Sergey Kavtaradze, a representative of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said “We have only MANPADs (portable anti-aircraft missile complex), which hit targets at 3-4 kilometers.”

But an intercepted phone call between Russian separatists shows members of the People’s Republic of Donetsk‘s surprise at the news that they shot down a passenger flight. The members say that they had intended to hit a Ukrainian troop transport plane.

Separatists told RT that their “self-defense forces just don’t have such military equipment.” However, on July 14, a Ukrainian military cargo plane was struck by a missile at 22,000 feet, and a press release from the U.S. State department indicated that the Russian military were supplying separatists with “heavy weaponry.” Russian forces were accused of downing the cargo plane, but Moscow called these claims “absurd.”

Ukraine shooting down Malaysia plane


Jonathan Beale, the BBC’s defense expert, said it would take a surface-to-air missile, guided by radar, to shoot down a plane at 33,000 feet. The only other possibility, Beale says, would be that the plane was shot down by a jet carrying air-to-air missiles.

The Ukrainian president, Petro Porochenko, said “Armed forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets.”

3. Bodies Are Scattered for Miles Around the Crash Site

There were 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board the flight. The plane was flying from Amsterdam from Kuala Lumpur. The flight was traveling at 33,000 feet. The plane left Amsterdam at 12:17 p.m. local time and had been due to arrive in Malaysia at 6:10 a.m. Malaysian time. According to Flight Aware, the plane was traveling at 560 miles per hour.

Anton Geraschenko, an advisor in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said on his Facebook page, that all 295 people on board have died. Reuters reports that body parts are scattered up to 10 miles away from crash site.

Noah Sneider a reporter with the New York Times tweeted that a separatist fighter told him “I’ve never seen anything like it. You look down and see ears, fingers, bones.”

Debris and cargo were also found for miles. Here is the complete released cargo manifest from the ship, including several live animals:

4. Russian Separatists Are Believed to Have the Plane’s Black Box

malaysia plane crash

This map shows Malaysia Airlines route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. (

According to witnesses on scene, the plane’s black box has been recovered by Russian separatists. This means that the recorder will likely be brought to Moscow to be analyzed, not Kiev. The Russian separatists are to be seeking a three day ceasefire in the wake of the crash.

The flight went down in the area of Donetsk. The crash happened 37 miles from the Russian border close to the city of Torez.

An area that were fighting took place between Russian separatists and Ukrainian military.

Lufthansa, the German airline, has said that it will not fly over Ukrainian airspace until further notice. The Washington Post reports that the flight was on the same flightpath it takes every day and did not deviate. Air France has also said it will avoid the airspace. The FAA warned U.S. airlines not to fly over the region back in April 2014. Igor Girkin, a local sepratist leader posted on the Russian version of Facebook, “We did warn you – do not fly in our sky.”

5. The Plane Never Entered Russian Airspace

An image reported by Life News shows sickening images of the wreck.   (Screen Shot/LifeNews)

An image reported by Life News shows sickening images of the wreck. (Screen Shot/LifeNews)

Reuters reports that the plane did not enter Russian airspace when expected. Malaysia Airlines has said it lost contact with the flight. The Associated Press reports that President Obama has been briefed on the crash and that he has spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama had been scheduled to talk with Putin anyway, regarding new sanctions. The Malaysian President Najib Razak said ‘I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation.” Later it was reported that Razak was en route to Ukraine. AFP reports that the British Foreign Office is “working urgently to find out what happened.”

Ukraine Malaysian Airlines Crash: Pictures You Need to See

A Malaysian Airlines plane has crashed near the Ukrainian border. Here are the pictures you need to see.

Click here to read more

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      • Yeah, lets put all the blame on poor Vladimir Putin.But lets not forget who started supported and financed the ukranian revolution. None of this would have happened , trust me. It all started in kievs maydan….but the weird thing is that nobody is talking about civilians who are bombed and killed in the east of ukrane, not by the rebels but by ukrainian military. Nobody is saying that over the last days more than 40 people died includind children!!!

  1. how that can be possible in that modern world?All those who are involved should be punish properly in front of whole world.

  2. Unfortunetly this is not the first time civilian disaster by Russian. This had happened sometimes in the year 1978 on an over Korean Airlines, followed by 1983 by Russian Military administration. This time it is said to be found that this ” Missile ” fired on MH 17 is built in Russia. It is high time for ICAO to ban movement of all civilian aircraft within the territory, where these short of crimes are taken place.

    • And do you know that ukranians by mistake shot down a russian plane in 2001 with israeli citizens on board?They denied it until russians proved them wrong. Plus the country soviet union doesnt exist anymore, cold war is over, or so i thought.

  3. Hello, WAKE YOU UP! What are you talking for a shit?
    1: The plane had had on the day did not fly over south-east Ukraine! In the last moment, the new flight plan have gotten from Ukrainian government and had fleigen through South-Eastern Ukraine!

    2: And before the plane fell Ukrainian President has the same holds press conference and accused South East Ukrainians for it! Attention is not even landed komlett down during the Jets! So the parts still flew in the air! And the plane was only in Ukrainian region, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast shot only 4 minutes and the plane would land on Russian territories and then the whole U.S. government and Ukraine could accuse it! Why? The reason for this is because Putin has utnerschrieben BRICS and Europe want keien make further sanctions against Russia!

    3: When the Americans have the plane shot down in 1988 have still to blame one’s own does not recognize up today! And Ukraine has already shot down on 2001 Russian Passagiren plane! That you can still find everything on the internet and have not even apologized! Only just said; Well that happens sometimes now time is normal!

    And before you talk such shit! Find out how you first objective and believes not always your “free press” and your canals “Democratic” Presedent!

    I am German and can several language and I know what the thing is I’m talking several languages; German, Italian, English, Russian, Spanish!

  4. Plenty of EU members have contracting economy at the moment, and all of them had few years ago, and they are all still kicking around ;) So, RF will survive this one too…