Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17/MAS17) was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed on 17 July 2014. The plane is believed to have been shot down with a Buk surface-to-air missile. The Boeing 777-200ER airliner went down near Hrabove inDonetsk Oblast, Ukraine, about 40 km (25 mi) from the Ukraine–Russia border, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. The crash occurred in the conflict zone of the ongoing Donbass insurgency, in an area controlled by the Donbass People's Militia.
The two sides in Ukraine's ongoing civil conflict (the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists) accused each other of shooting down the plane with a missile. A Ukrainian Interior Ministry official, Anton Gerashchenko, said a Buk missile hit the aircraft at an altitude of 10,000 m (33,000 ft). US President Barack Obama, citing US intelligence officials, said the plane was shot down by a missile and that there was "credible evidence" it was fired from a location held by pro-Russian rebels. The Russian Defence Ministry asked the US to show its evidence, and released imagery purporting to show a Ukrainian jet fighter approaching the airliner shortly before it crashed.
With 298 deaths, the crash of MH17 is the deadliest-ever air incident in Ukraine, Boeing 777 hull loss, and airliner shootdown. The crash wasMalaysia Airlines' deadliest incident, and its second of the year, after thedisappearance of Flight 370 on 8 March en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
On the day of the crash, a meeting was convened of the Trilateral Contact Group (consisting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe(OSCE), the Ukrainian national government, and Russia). After they had held a video conference with representatives of insurgents affiliated with the Donetsk People's Republic (who control the area where the plane crashed), the rebels promised to "provide safe access and security guarantees" to "the national investigation commission" by co-operating with Ukrainian authorities and OSCE monitors. During the first two days of investigation, the militants prevented the OSCE and other international observers from freely working at the crash site. According to the Ukrainian government, the separatists are destroying all evidence of the crime "with the help of Russia", including moving 38 bodies to Donetsk. Andre Purgin, a leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, declared later that "we will guarantee the safety of international experts on the scene as soon as Kiev concludes a ceasefire agreement".
A Ukrainian-led international investigation will examine why the plane crashed. The United Kingdom is sending six investigators from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch to assist. The UK Foreign Office has sent extra consular staff to Ukraine and the Metropolitan Police is liaising with international partners to send specialist officers to the country to assist with the recovery, identification and repatriation of those who died. Australia has sent a 45-member probe panel headed by formerAir Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who had earlier supervised the MH 370 probe.A senior US administration official said to ABC News that FBI and NTSB officials are poised to head to Ukraine to advise the investigation.
Shortly after the crash, Igor Girkin, leader of the Donbass separatists, was reported to have posted on social media network VKontakte, taking credit for downing a Ukrainian military aircraft. They later recanted and denied involvement after learning that a civilian airliner had been downed, saying they did not have the equipment or training to hit a target at that altitude.
On 18 July, it was reported that the flight recorder had been recovered by separatists. On the same day, the head of Donetsk Regional State Administration, Kostiantyn Batozky, stated that the two black boxes had been found. Rebels said later that two boxes were moved to Donetsk. According to a phone conversation intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence, the militants were given the task of keeping all evidence, including black boxes, away from anyone else.
On 21 July, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that he had been told by Alexander Borodai, leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, that the black boxes would be handed over to Malaysian authorities. Later that day, two flight-data recorders were handed over to Malaysian officials in Donetsk by rebels. The Malaysians reported that the recorders were "in good condition".