A few months after a Malaysian Airline jet “vanished” in the air, another Malaysian Airline flight ended up in tragedy. This time, Malaysian Airline flight MH17 was shot down in Ukraine killing all the 283 passengers and 15 crew members. Flight MH17 was from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The jet was apparently brought down by a missile. It was the third plane crash in that area of the war torn Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations on who was responsible for shooting down the commercial jet. There were 3 Filipinos among the victims of the crash. Over half of the passengers were Dutch nationals. There were also 43 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, 9 Britons, 4 Belgians, 4 Germans, and 1 New Zealander. Authorities are still trying to find out the nationalities of 39 other fatalities.
AIDS community mourns
Many of the passengers were on their way to Melbourne, Australia to attend the 20th International Aids conference in Melbourne. Some of the world’s leading AIDS researchers were thought to be in the tragic flight. Australia has also already put their flags in half mast.
Who fired the missile?
Based on the news, the missile was fired from a Russian Buk launcher. The missiles fired from a Buk launcher could reach as high as 70,000 feet which is way higher than MH17’s altitude before the crash of about 30,000 feet. This type of launcher is a sophisticated weaponry that will take years to master and this not the shoulder-type missile launcher. In the past couple of days, 2 Ukrainian military aircraft were shot down in this same area where the Malaysian Airline flight was shot down. A Ukrainian rebel was even posting a boast in social media that they shot down another Ukrainian cargo plane before his post was removed when it became apparent that the plane was a commercial flight. Russian Vladimir Putin came out with a statement that it is government at Kiev should responsible for the crash. The Ukraine intelligence came out with an audio intercept that points to the rebels as the ones firing the missile.
It is the second major air tragedy that the Malaysian Airlines are involved this year. Last March, MH370 vanished on its way to China. The plane has not been found until now. The tragedy of flight MH 17 was similar to Korean Airline Flight 007 in 1983 when 269 passengers died after the commercial plane was shot by a Soviet Su-15 near the disputed Sakhalin Island.