What We Know About The MH17 Crash So Far

by Lauren Barbato

After departing from Amsterdam Thursday afternoon, a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down in the Ukraine near the Russian border. According to an adviser to Ukraine's interior ministry, the Malaysian airliner was hit by a missile. There were 280 passengers and 15 crew members onboard the flight, which was scheduled to land in Kuala Lumpur early Friday morning.

  • Anton Gerashenko, the adviser to the interior ministry, said that the Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at 33,000 feet when it was hit by the missile from a Buk launcher. However, there's no further confirmation of the report, though Reuters reported that local residents have found wreckage of the crash.
  • The Associated Press reported that Malaysia Airlines lost contact with the plane when it was flying over the Ukraine. The airline tweeted that before it lost contact with MH17, the plane's "last known position was over Ukrainian airspace." The airline's Twitter account added that more details are coming.
  • According to The Guardian, MH17 crashed near the town of Snizhe, located in eastern Ukraine. However, the location of the crash site has yet to be confirmed, and some reports say the airliner went down near the town of Torez.
  • Eastern Ukraine has been at the center of the Ukraine-Russia crisis since early 2014, when tensions between ethnic Ukrainians and pro-Russian separatists came to a head. In recent weeks, pro-Russian rebels in the area have been engaging the Ukrainian military in various assaults.
  • Just hours before news of the Malaysian airliner broke, the Ukrainian government accused Russia of shooting down one of its fighter jets with a missile Wednesday evening. A spokesperson for the Ukraine security council said the missile was fired from a Russian plane.
  • The Ukrainian fighter jet reportedly crashed near Amvrosiyivka, just under 10 miles from the Russian border. According to The Guardian, it was the third time this week that a Ukrainian plane went down due to a Russian missile.
  • A spokesperson for Ukrainian Prime Minister Areseny Yatseniuk said the government was opening an investigation into the crash. Meanwhile, Eastern Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai is claiming the Ukrainian government shot down the airline; the government in Kiev denies these claims.

You can find live updates on this developing story here.