On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, (MH17), traveling from Amsterdam destined to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with 283 passengers and 15 crew members was shot down by a missile while flying over Ukraine, at 33,000 feet. The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, went down in pieces over a vast rural area of Ukraine, about 31 miles from Russia.
Here's the full passenger manifest for MH17.
MH17 Flight number will be retired effective July 25, 2014 in reverence to the passengers and crew of the flight that was shot down over Ukraine this week. The new Flight Number for the Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flight is MH19.
John McCain blames Russian Vladimir Putin for the crash. He has some strong words for Putin. (Read the story here). Australia's Prime Minister has similar strong words. Australia has lost numerous citizens in this plane crash. The majority of passengers are from Netherlands, and most of them are connecting in Kuala Lumpur for a flight to Australia for the HIV Conference. A notable leader in the HIV research is one of those who perished. At the time of this writing, there were only 181 bodies found from the wreckage of MH 17.
The biggest clue as to who shot down the plane was caught in a phone conversation between a militant and another person. The recording, which was distributed by Ukraine is shown below:
"Major: The plane broke into pieces in the air..we have found the first 200 (dead). It's a civilian."
Grek: "How are things going there?"
M: "Well, we are 100% sure that it was a civilian plane."
G: "Are there a lot of people?"
M: "F--k! The debris was falling straight into the yards."
M: "Here are remnants of internal brackets, chairs, bodies."
G: "Are there any weapons?"
M: "Nothing at all. Civilian belongings, medical scraps, towels, toilet paper."
All of the crew members of Malaysia Airline Flight 17 are from Malaysia. The passengers are from different countries. At the time of this writing, a partial list of passengers' nationalities has been published:
More Malaysian Airlines Crash Stories Here...
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in a rural area of Eastern Ukraine, about 31 miles from Russia. This is the area where the armed pro-Russian separatists are fighting with the Ukrainian forces. There were two aircraft that were downed by Russian missiles in previous days. Because of that, most airlines decided not to fly their airplanes over the area. However, some airlines, including Malaysia Airlines, has not changed course after the ICAO determined that the air space is still "safe" for commercial aircraft. Most airlines do not change course for fuel-saving (shortest point to point flight is more fuel efficient). However, a number of international airlines ordered their pilots not to fly at the airspace due to security reasons. They were right.