UPDATE: Malaysia Airline Flight Crashes in Ukraine; DOD Confirms Shootdown
Multiple press agencies and cable news outlets are reporting that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.
4:50pmEST — NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports that intelligence sources confirm that Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-launched weapon over eastern Ukraine.
2:15pmEST — AP reports that US pilots had been warned to avoid airspace over the Ukraine:
The Federal Aviation Administration had warned U.S. pilots earlier this year not to fly over portions of the Ukraine in the Crimea region, according to notices posted on the agency’s website.
The notices were posted on April 23. The U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization and the aviation authorities in most countries issue similar notices for areas where unrest or military conflict creates a risk of being shot down.
The FAA had not issued any new warnings Thursday in the immediate aftermath of reports that a Malaysian airliner had been shot down over the Ukraine.
1:30pmEST — The New York Times, reports
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday, and Ukrainian officials said it may have been shot down, possibly by a Russian-made antiaircraft system.
Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko, said in a statement that he was calling for an immediate investigation of the crash of the plane, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Amsterdam. There were no reported survivors among the 280 passengers and 15 crew members.
Malaysia Airlines released a statement confirming the flight was carrying 295 people. President Obama was reported to have spoken briefly with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Reuters posted a photograph of what it said was the site of the crash.
A regional airline official said the plane had been flying at about 33,000 feet when radar trackers lost it over eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.
Eastern Ukraine has been roiled for months by a violent pro-Russian separatist uprising in which a number of military aircraft have been downed. But this would be the first commercial airline disaster resulting from the hostilities.
12:55pmEST — CBS News reports
A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country, and Malaysian Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace.
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet. He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 72,000 feet.
Ukraine’s president says his country’s armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets, after reports that a Malaysian Airlines plane went down over Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko says Thursday “we do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets.”
CBS News has not confirmed that the plane was shot down.
12:31pmEST — A contrary report from CNN — Ukraine’s defense minister is saying that the Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down
12:28pmEST — NBC reports that the Malaysian defense minister is saying there is no evidence as of yet the plane was shot down; also that Malaysian Airlines has issued a “cryptic” report of an event on board the airliner.
12:19pmEST — While some reports have suggested the plane was struck by a missile, NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski reports that there is no confirmation from Defense Department sources that the plane was shot down.
12:09pmEST — Reuters reports all 295 passengers dead.