Malaysian Airline plane shot down in Ukraine - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Malaysian Airline plane shot down in Ukraine

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WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

United States senior officials have confirmed that the Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 295 people was shot down over Ukraine by a surface-to-air missile.

The flight took off from Amsterdam and was headed to Kuala Lumpur and it appears to have broken up in the sky.

Wreckage and debris can be found scattered for miles surrounding the village of Hrabove, just 25 miles from the Russian boarder.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko is calling the crash an act of terrorism and has called for an investigation.

Officials in Ukraine believe the plane was shot down as it flew over the country on Thursday.

Huge plumes of smoke rose from a field in Ukraine after the Malaysian Airline flight 17 crashed.

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin briefly discussed the crash over the phone.

"Right now we're working to determine whether there were American citizens on Board," Obama said in a press conference.

CNN reported that among the individuals on the plane included nationalities of Dutch, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Germany, Belgium, Philippines and Canada.

A Ukrainian official said the Boeing 777 was shot down over a town in the eastern part of the county, and reports said a ground-to-air missile hit the plane as it was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet, regular cruising speed.

"The debris field covered 5 square kilometers. There is wreckage and charred, very little of the airplane is pieced together, and reconstruction could be impossible," said local aviation expert and aviation physician Dr. Michael Teiger

It appears the plan went down in a region where Ukrainian forces are battling Russian fighters, and it is unclear as to why the route was taken considering the violence.

"There's a big difference between military and civilian airspace. They don't always communicate. The airline wouldn't have had the information. It wasn't declared a no fly zone," Teiger said.

Ukraine's security services claim that they intercepted two telephone conversations that they said showed rebels were responsible for downing the airliner, but neither calls can be independently verified.

A Russian news report said pro-Russia rebels intend to call a three-day cease-fire to allow for an investigation into the crash and recovery efforts.

This is the second time that disaster has struck a Malaysia Airlines plane.

Less than six months ago, Malaysia Airlines flight 370, another Boeing 777, vanished without a trace.

It disappeared in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

It still has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian ocean, far west of Australia.

The Boeing 777 is the world's largest twin-engine jet, and has a very positive reputation in the industry and typically seats between 300 and 440 people.

These planes have a maximum range between 5,000 and 7,700 miles.

The first Boeing 777 went into service in 1995 and there is nothing in its history to suggest any technical issues.

Some other planes in the 777 family have engines made by Pratt and Whitney, located here in Connecticut.

The company said its engines did not power Malaysian Flight MH17.

The Federal Aviation Administration had warnings in place before today's crash.

United States airline carriers were prohibited from flying in the area of Ukraine where the plane went down. The same was true in many other countries.

Several airlines, including Delta, Virgin, Lufthansa and Air France have also issued statements saying they are avoiding Ukrainian airspace.

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