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Obama Says One American Killed In Malaysian Airlines Crash

Reported by: Send eMail Associated Press
Reported: Jul. 17, 2014 11:38 AM EDT
Updated: Jul. 18, 2014 12:28 PM EDT
EMPR Photo
EMPR Photo

Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama said one American was killed on the plane over Ukraine. He says the airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

The president called it a global tragedy in remarks from the White House, one day after Malaysia Airline Flight 17 crashed.

He is calling for a credible international investigation.

The plane was shot down near the border between Ukraine and Russia. The incident occurred one day after Obama announced broader economic sanctions against Russia for its threatening moves in Ukraine.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




ABC News reported that investigators will have to navigate charred wreckage and regional hostility in efforts to uncover answers into the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which left 298 people dead, including a Philippines-bound vacationing family and a World Health Organization official.

ABC News said that at this point, no Americans have been verified among the passengers. Malaysia officials said that 189 passengers were Dutch. In addition, according to officials at a news conference Friday, 44 were Malaysian, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine British, four Belgians, four Germans, three Filipinos, one Canadian and one New Zealander.

Nationalities of four other passengers remain unknown at this time.




A U.S. official says American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile took down a passenger jet carrying 298 people in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, but the Obama administration is still scrambling to confirm who launched the strike and whether there were American citizens killed in the crash.

Vice President Joe Biden says the incident was "not an accident," describing the Malaysia Airlines plane as having been "blown out of the sky."

Among the unanswered questions is whether the missile was launched from the Russian or Ukrainian side of the border they share. The official says U.S. intelligence assessments suggest it is more likely that pro-Russian separatists or Russians shot down the plane than Ukrainian forces.

The U.S. has sophisticated technologies that can detect missile launches, including the identification of heat from a rocket engine.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Britain said Wednesday that the U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Friday morning on Ukraine.

Britain's U.N. Mission said Thursday it requested the meeting and later tweeted that it is set for 10 a.m. Friday.

The request follows Wednesday's downing of a Ukrainian air force fighter and Thursday's downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people over eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev tweeted after Thursday's crash in a rebel-controlled area that "Ukraine will present the evidence of Russian military involvement into the Boeing crash. This crime should be fully investigated."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said "there is clearly a need for a full and transparent international investigation" into the plane crash in Ukraine.

"I offer my deep condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and people of Malaysia," Ban said.

Both Ukraine's government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region have denied any responsibility for downing the aircraft.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened a meeting with top economic advisers late Thursday with comments on the crash of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine.

The text of his remarks, as taken from the Kremlin website and translated by The Associated Press:

Dear colleagues!

You know that a terrible event occurred today in the sky over Ukraine, an awful tragedy -- a civilian plane was killed, 285 people, according to preliminary information, were killed.

On behalf of the Russian leadership and the Russian government, we express condolences to the bereaved families, the governments of those countries whose nationals were on that plane. I ask you to honor their memory.

(A moment of silence)

In this regard, I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.

I have already given instructions to the military departments to provide all necessary assistance in the investigation of this crime. And I also ask the government of the Russian Federation through the available civilian agencies that have the capability to do everything for a thorough investigation of this event. We will do everything -- everything that depends on us, anyway -- in order that the objective picture of what happened is part of the public domain here, in Ukraine and in the rest of the world.

This is an absolutely unacceptable thing, and no one has the right to let this pass without the appropriate conclusions and without all of us having objective information about the incident.

But we have gathered with you for another reason. I would like to talk to you about the socio-economic situation in the country. We also have many other issues of the current character. Let's talk about them.


Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Britain has asked for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Ukraine.

Britain's U.N. Mission said Thursday the time of the meeting has not been set.

The request follows Wednesday's downing of a Ukrainian air force fighter and Thursday's downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people over eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev tweeted after Thursday's crash in a rebel-controlled area that "Ukraine will present the evidence of Russian military involvement into the Boeing crash. This crime should be fully investigated."

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Russian news agencies have quoted witnesses as saying they saw a plane being hit by what they thought was a rocket today over Ukraine.

But both Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels are denying they fired a missile that brought down a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane with 295 people aboard.

The plane crashed in eastern Ukraine, about 25 miles from the Russian border. An Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the wreckage site, which covers a wide area.

The wreckage is in a village that is currently under the control of pro-Russia separatists. It's seen severe fighting between separatists and government troops in recent days.

Aviation authorities in several countries, including the FAA in the United States, had issued warnings not to fly over parts of Ukraine prior to today's crash. Within hours, several airlines, including Lufthansa and KLM, released statements today saying they were avoiding parts of Ukrainian airspace.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Malaysia Airlines sayid the plane that went down in eastern Ukraine was a Boeing 777 with 280 passengers and 15 crew members aboard.

Flight 17 had taken off from Amsterdam, bound for Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, when the airline received notification from Ukrainian aviation authorities that contact had been lost about 30 miles from the Russia-Ukraine border.

An adviser to Ukraine's interior minister said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of about 33,000 feet. He said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters, or 72,000 feet.

The Boeing 777-200ER was delivered to Malaysia Airlines on July 30, 1997, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets, which sells and tracks information about aircraft. It has more than 43,000 hours of flight time and 6,950 takeoffs and landings.

It was the second Malaysia Airlines jetliner to be lost in less than six months. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found. The search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean far west of Australia.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




An Associated Press journalist has counted at least 22 bodies at the plane wreckage site in eastern Ukraine involving a Malaysia Airlines commercial flight.

The plane appeared to have broken up before impact and the wreck is scattered over a wide area in the eastern Ukraine village of Grabovo.

The field around the burning wreck was strewn with body parts and the belongings of the passengers Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines has said 295 people were aboard the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have discussed the Malaysia Airlines plane incident over eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin website published a statement late Thursday that says "the Russian leader informed the U.S. president of the report from air traffic controllers that the Malaysian plane had crashed on Ukrainian territory, which had arrived immediately before the phone call."

The statement gave no further details about what the leaders discussed with regard to the plane crash. The rest of the phone call was dedicated to the general situation in eastern Ukraine, and recent U.S. sanctions against Russian individuals and companies.

A Ukrainian official said a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people went down Thursday over a town in the east of the country.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.





President Barack Obama is asking his advisers to keep him updated on reports of a plane shot down over Ukraine. But the White House says it can't confirm the reports.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest says Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned initial reports of a downed passenger jet near the border with Russia during a phone call with Obama Thursday morning.

Earnest says the incident came up near the end of a call requested by Moscow to discuss sanctions the U.S. imposed Wednesday on Russia. Obama and Putin spoke before Obama left on a trip to Delaware and New York.

A Ukrainian official says a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines has lost contact with a plane in that area.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Ukraine's president said his country's armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets, after reports that a Malaysian Airlines plane carrying 295 passengers went down over Ukraine Thursday.

President Petro Poroshenko said 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."

Poroshenko said "we are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible."

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Malaysian prime minister said he is launching an immediate probe into the reported crash of a passenger plane that was carrying 295 people.

A Ukrainian official said a Malaysian passenger plane was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country.

The Ukraine president said that armed forces of the Ukraine "did not take action against any airborne targets."

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




The Associated Press is reporting that a Ukrainian official said a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country.

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed that it "has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow."

It was the second time that a Malaysia Airlines plane had gone missing in less than six months. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean far west of Australia.

The Donetsk region government said Thursday's plane crashed near a village called Grabovo, which it said is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatists. The region where theflight was lost has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels in recent days.

A launcher similar to the Buk missile system was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, a Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday, adding to what Kiev says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine. Security Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet hit by the air-to-air missile was forced to bail after his jet was shot down.

Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely

Moscow denies Western charges that is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest in its neighbor. The Russian Defense Ministry couldn't be reached for comment Thursday about the Ukrainian jet and Russia's foreign ministry didn't respond to multiple requests for comment.

Earlier this week, Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




The Associated Press reported that the Adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister said a passenger plane carrying 295 passengers was shot down Thursday.

CNN reported that the plane was a Malaysia Airlines flight, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and crashed in Eastern Ukraine near the Ukraine-Russia border.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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