Airplane Crash Kills 295 People: What We Know So Far

A Malaysian Airlines airplane with 295 people aboard has crashed in the Ukraine near the Russian border. Ukrainian officials are reportedly blaming Russian separatists who have been at war in the Ukraine with shooting down the plane with a surface-to-air missile. All 295 people, including 23 Americans and possibly 10 Britons, are presumed dead. Here is what we know so far.

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Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it disappeared over a field near the town of Grabovo. Eyewitnesses say that bodies are scattered everywhere.

- The plane was believed to carry 23 Americans, 5 to 10 Britons, and 20 to 30 Dutch and Belgian citizens among the 295 passengers.

- Ukraine's president, Petro O. Poroshenko, is calling the downed plane "a terrorist act."

- Reportedly, Ukraine's interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko, was the first to say the plane was shot down by a missile, blaming pro-Russia separatists. Separatist officials have reportedly denied that they have surface-to-air missiles that could reach a commercial jet. At this point, both pro-Russia rebels and the Ukraine are denying they had anything to do with shooting down the plane.

- U.S. intelligence officials have confirmed that the plane was shot down but are divided over which side is responsible.

- While military jets had been diverted from the area recently, commercial jets had continued to fly over the troubled region. Now flights are being curtailed by many major airlines.

- A pro-Russia separatist leader reportedly bragged about the group's downing of the plane on Russian's version of Facebook -- but quickly deleted the post when it hit the news that the plane was a commercial jetliner, not a Ukrainian transport plane, as reportedly he thought.

- President Barack Obama called the incident a "terrible tragedy," but didn't say much else about the crash, no doubt because all the facts are not yet known. But he was criticized for seeming insensitive, as he continued with a speech on a different topic and sprinkled it with jokes.

- Malaysian Airlines still hasn't found Flight MH370, which disappeared in March while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

 

Image via Ozz13x/Flickr

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