IN BRIEF: 298 people are presumed dead after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in the early hours of this morning. Investigators are working to determine who launched the missile. The flight left Amsterdam bound for Kuala Lumpur at 8.15pm Malaysian time on Thursday.
+++ ALL TIMES MALAYSIA TIME +++
7.39pm: Investigators face a tough task in determining who shot down the jetliner. The Ukraine and Russian have blamed each other for bringing down the plane. Both the Ukraine and Russian militaries are in possession of the Buk missile system which is suspected to have been used against the plane.
7.14pm: Reporter Harriet Salem paints a grim picture from the crash site in eastern Ukraine:
A mass of mangled bodies here at #MH17 crash site, horrific, & still every 10 min the dull rumble of grad in distance. Fighting continues.
— Harriet Salem (@HarrietSalem) July 18, 2014
6.57pm: Associated Press reports that a woman who lost two family members in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March lost a stepdaughter on flight MH17:
Kaylene Mann’s brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on Flight 370 when it vanished in March. On Friday, she found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed along with 297 other passengers on board Flight 17 when it crashed in Ukraine. Mann’s brother Greg Burrows says news of the second tragedy to hit the family has “ripped our guts again.”
6.40pm: This video claiming to show the flight MH17 is being widely shared on the Internet. We don’t have final verification yet, but it appears to be genuine:
6.34pm: Associated Press reports that a Ukranian official has said 181 bodies have been found so far at the flight MH17 crash site:
Ukraine Foreign Ministry representative Andriy Sybiga cited local emergency workers at the site for the numbers Friday. He said the bodies will be taken to Kharkiv, a government-controlled city 270 kilometers (170 miles) north of the crash site, for identification.
6.06pm: This video has emerged showing the flight MH17 cabin just moments before takeoff. It was uploaded to Instagram by Malaysian passenger Md Ali Md Salim:
5.48pm: Malaysian PM Najib Razak sends condolences to Australian PM Tony Abbott. Twenty-seven Australians are believed to have dies in the tragedy:
5.33pm: Associated Press reports that World Health Organization says its spokesman Glenn Thomas was on board the Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine:
5.25pm: Thai Airways International (THAI) has announced that it is rerouting all flights too and from Europe to avoid Ukraine airspace. 5.04pm: This graphic from the New York Timesshows the flight paths of a number of airlines. Air France and British Airways avoided the Ukraine, others didn’t:
4.54pm:Updated list of nationalities of flight MH17 passengers: Netherlands: 173, Malaysia: 44, Australia: 27, Indonesia: 12, UK: 9, Germany: 4, Belgium 4, Philippines 3, Canada 1, New Zealand 1.
4.48pm: In a tough media briefing this afternoon Malaysian Transport Minister stressed that Malaysia Airlines was not the only commercial airline whose flight path passed over eastern Ukraine:
4.11pm: Malaysia Airlines will reportedly not be flying flight MH17 next of kin to Kiev. 3.08pm: Al Jazeera reports that pro-Russian separatists have given the go-ahead for a full investigation of the crash site. 2.31pm: Fox News has the full text of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement on the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Key excerpt:
In this regard, I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.
3.19pm: A total of 121 bodies have been found at the crash site so far. 1.53pm: Malaysia Airlines is updating on the loss of flight MH17 here. The latest statement says:
The B777-200 aircraft bearing registration no. 9M-MRD that operated MH17 on 17 July, 2014 had a clean maintenance record. The aircraft’s last maintenance check was on 11 July 2014. The next check was due on 27 Aug 2014. The maintenance was conducted at Malaysia Airlines’ hangar at KLIA. The aircraft had a clean bill of health.
2.27pm: Most Malaysia Airlines are flying as normal today:
1.33pm: Very sad news that many of the passengers on flight MH17 were en route to an AIDS conference in Australia.
1.14pm: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tweets:
11.33am: US President Barack Obama expresses condolences to Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands and calls for “prompt” and “unimpeded” investigation. 10.11am: Malaysia Airlines share value dropped almost 20 percent in early trading today. 11.12am: Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Before the crash, 300 commercial aircraft a day were flying through eastern Ukrainian airspace.
10.43am: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s statement on the jet tragedy can be found here:
Yesterday evening, I was informed of the terrible and deeply shocking news that a Malaysia Airlines jet went down in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the jet was Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The flight departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm, local time. It was scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 6.10 am, local, Malaysian time. … Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the aircraft did not make a distress call. The flight was carrying a total number of 295 people – comprising 280 passengers and 15 crew members.
10.18am: The nationalities of the people on board flight MH17 are as follows: 154 Dutch, 43 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 9 Britons, 4 Germans, 4 Belgians, 3 Filipinos, 1 Canadian, and 41 people of unverified nationalities.
9.52am: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has been lost over the Ukraine with 298 people on board.