A second disaster hit Malaysian Airlines today. Bloomberg reports a Boeing 777 crashed near the town of Torez in eastern Ukraine killing 280 passengers and 15 crew.

A Ukrainian Interior Ministry official was quick to point the finger, stating that pro-Russian separatists shot down the passenger jet. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said it did not attack the airplane.

The Financial Times has a few more details.

A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet has crashed in Ukraine 60km from the border with Russia, ITAR-TASS news agency reported on Thursday.

The plane, a Boeing 777 with 295 people on board, was reported by Interfax news agency to be en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it came down before entering Russian airspace. Malaysian Airlines confirmed by Twitter that it had lost contact with flight MH17, the scheduled flight for that route.

The crash is the second disaster to hit the Malaysian carrier. Investigators have still not located the wreckage of MH370, which crashed on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The crash of MH17 immediately triggered claims that the aircraft had been shot down. The precise location of the crash was unclear.

The crash came hours after local officials accused Russia of downing a second army plane within days, and the stepping up the flow of arms and fresh rebels despite decisions by the US and EU to punish Moscow with a deeper economic sanctions.

Several Ukrainian aircraft have been shot down in the disputed areas of eastern Ukraine near to the border with Russia in recent months, including a Ukrainian Su-25 jet fighter on Thursday which Kiev claimed was downed by a Russian jet.

“Using a zenith-rocket Buk system, the terrorists just downed a passenger airline heading from Kuala-Lampur to Amsterdam,” Anatoly Geraschenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said in a Facebook posting.

Buk Missile

I do not know who is responsible, but it sure seems Ukrainian  officials jumped to conclusions, especially since this was the second disaster this year to hit Malaysian Airlines.

A shoulder fired missile cannot reach that altitude, but a Buk Missile System could.

From Wikipedia

The Buk missile system (Russian: “Бук”; beech, /bʊk/ BOOK) is a family of self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air missile systems developed by the former Soviet Union and Russian Federation and designed to engage cruise missiles, smart bombs, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock