Starting with a Malaysia Airline Tweet at 10:36 CST today, the world quickly became aware of a problem with Flight MH17 over Ukranian airspace. This civilian flight originated in Amsterdam and was headed to Kuala Lumpur. The Ukranian presidency has confirmed the crash officially.
The BBC’s resident defense expert has called it “unlikely” that this plane was downed by a Manpad – aka portable air defense missile – due to its reported altitude. Instead, this same expert suggests that, if the plane were downed by a missile, “the only other possibility” is that this flight was taken out by “a fighter carrying air-to-air missiles.”
According to the Associated Press, Anton Herashchenko (adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister) suggested that the plane had been hit by a missile.
The same AP release reports that the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000m (33,000ft). Contact was lost at 13:20 GMT, the plane having left Amsterdam at 10:30 GMT.
NOTE: Above you’ll see an image of a plane with the same model and branding as Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. This is a Boeing 777-200ER with a crew of 15 and passenger capacity of 280.
If you’re wondering how similar this flight’s circumstance is to the lost flight earlier this year – it’s likely due to completely different circumstances. Though both flights were Malaysian airliners, no evidence points to MH370 (the missing plane) having been shot down.
UPDATE 11:45 AM CST: Again according to the BBC, Ukranian military has denied shooting down the plane while they blame “pro-Russian rebels.”
UPDATE 11:48 AM CST: Pro-Russian separatist Twitter account @novorossiya suggests that the Ukranian Air Force took the Malaysia Aircraft down.
UPDATE 11:49 AM CST: Ukranian @MatevzNovak has provided several photos of debris that he suggests come from the plane. He suggests some photos are taken by one Nadezhda Chernetskaya.
UPDATE 11:55 AM CST: Another image from @MOR2537 hailing from Donetsk in the Ukrain, apparently very near where at least one part of the plane fell.
UPDATE NOON CST: Russia’s Rossiya TV has pro-Russian separatist spokesperson Sergey Kavtaradze speaking up on the situation: “The portable air defence systems which we have, they work at a maximum of three to four thousand metres. Therefore, it is possible to say virtually before the start of the investigation that the Ukrainian armed forces destroyed this.”
UPDATE 12:47 PM CST: Reuters reports that the number of lost lives number more than 300. This is according to the Interior Ministry, quoted by Interfax.