Officials from several countries vow to quickly determine who’s behind Thursday’s downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and the deaths of all 298 aboard.
U.S. intelligence officials confirmed that the crash was caused by a surface-to-air missile near Ukraine’s border with Russia, but have yet to determine where it originated. The incident already is inflaming tensions between the two countries and escalating political rhetoric elsewhere.
It was “not an accident, it was blown out of the sky,” said Vice President Joe Biden.
Malaysia Airlines said Ukrainian air traffic control lost contact with Flight MH17 about 30 miles from Russia. There were no distress calls as the Boeing 777, carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew, began to break apart as it fell from the sky in the world’s deadliest aviation incident since 9/11.
Crash victims and body parts were strewn among burning debris up to 10 miles away. Among the dead: 154 Dutch nationals, 27 Australians, 11 Indonesians, six Brits, four Germans, four Belgians, four French, three Filipinos and a Canadian. Malaysian Air officials have so far not identified any Americans among the passengers, although they cautioned that some nationalities have still not been verified.
The White House said late Thursday night that “We continue to seek information to determine whether there were any American citizens on board.”
The crash site is in Ukraine’s war-torn Donetsk region, where political unrest and scattered fighting between Ukraine and pro-Russian militants has festered for months. After the downing of several Ukraine aircraft in recent days, accusations, blame and finger-pointing over Thursday’s crash was fevered.
Rescue workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners were searching the area around the crash site for bodies and debris Friday morning, the Associated Press reports…. see more