What happened yesterday when I received my text alerts on my phone was chilling. It started with a report that a Malaysia Airline plane had crashed in Ukraine carrying 295 passengers. That in itself was sad news enough to break someone’s heart. Then an update came in saying that the plane was shot down but responsible party was yet unknown.
It felt like the time when I heard that one of the World Trade building in New York was hit in a terror attack. What is it that makes us kill one another? What could be a reason so grave that we cannot live in peace with one another? Whomever is responsible for this tragedy is going to have hell to pay. The world is outraged.
Malaysia Airlines issued a media statement today as detailed below:
It was confirmed as well that there were three Filipinos on board.
Friday, July 18, 08:20 PM GMT +0800 Media Statement 4 : MH17 Incident
Media Statement 4: MH17 Incident
1. Flight plan
MH17’s flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, who are solely responsible for determining civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace. Eurocontrol is the air navigation service provider for Europe and is governed under ICAO rules.
The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before. Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine.
In April, the International Civil Aviation Organization identified an area over the Crimean peninsula as risky. At no point did MH17 fly into, or request to fly into, this area. At all times, MH17 was in airspace approved by the ICAO.
MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the ‘optimum’ altitude.
However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft.
Following this afternoon’s press conference, Malaysia Airlines can confirm that a further 16 passengers’ nationalities have been verified. The latest breakdown of nationalities of those on board the flight is as follows:
· 189 Netherlands
· 44 Malaysia
· 27 Australia
· 12 Indonensia
· 9 UK
· 4 Belgium
· 4 Germany
· 3 Philippines
· 1 Canada
· 1 New Zealand
Four passengers’ nationalities remain to be verified.
4. New flight route
Following this incident, Malaysia Airlines now avoids Ukrainian airspace entirely, flying further south over Turkey.