Passenger Flight Shot Down in Rebel Territory in Ukraine With 298 Aboard (Updated)

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 17 2014 12:00 PM

Passenger Flight Shot Down in Rebel Territory in Ukraine With 298 Aboard (Updated)

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Wreckage near Torez, Ukraine.

Photo by Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

This is being updated as more information becomes available.

A Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has crashed near the rebel-held city of Torez in the eastern Ukraine with 298 people aboard. United States officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, say the plane was shot down. A surface-to-air missile is thought to have been responsible, though it isn't yet known who fired it.

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An individual in the Ukrainian interior ministry told multiple news outlets that rebels shot down the plane—flight MH17—at an altitude of more than 30,000 feet, but these details are unconfirmed. The president of Ukraine says the country's own armed forces are not responsible for the crash—specifically that they "did not take action against any airborne targets."

A Ukrainian military transport plane was shot down from a height of 21,000 feet in the same region on Monday, and a jet was shot down Wednesday. It isn't clear whether pro-Russia rebels or Russian forces proper were responsible for those attacks, which took place near the Russia-Ukraine border.

Malaysia Airlines says that it lost contact with the plane over Ukrainian airspace. Another one of the company's flights, MH370, disappeared in March and is presumed to have crashed.

For more, read Slate's Joshua Keating on the history of commercial airliners being mistakenly targeted and shot down by military forces.

Correction, July 17, 2014: This post initially misspelled Ukrainian.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

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