International Probe Demanded After Malaysia Airlines Plane Crashes over Ukraine, 298 Dead [Video]

A Malaysia Airlines plane crashes over the conflict in eastern part of Ukraine.

A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 295 people crashed in east Ukraine’s conflict zone on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The terrible accident left no signs of survivors at the scene near the village of Grabovo, in rebel-held territory close to the border with Russia.

Both sides in Ukraine’s civil conflict stand against each other, accusing opponents of shooting down the plane with a missile. Specialist still can’t find out why the jet came down.

The United States confirmed, citing credible sources, that a missile shot down the plane, but hasn’t specified who was responsible, a senior U.S. official told reporters.

A top Ukrainian official previously noted that the jet, which was on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was flying at about 10,000 meters (nearly 33,000 feet) when the missile hit.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the plane never made a distress call. He called for an international team to have full access to the crash site.

“We must and we will find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned,” he said. “If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.”

Approximately 100 of the crashed jet were heading to Melbourne for a conference. Former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange was among passengers of the plane.

“Joep had an absolute commitment to HIV treatment and care in Asia and Africa,” Kirby Institute Director David A Cooper said in a University of New South Wales press release.

“The joy in collaborating with Joep was that he would always bring a fresh view, a unique take on things, and he never accepted that something was impossible to achieve.”

Glenn Thomas, a spokesperson for WHO’s Global TB Program, was also among the victims, according to a fellow staffer. 

WHO’s Dr. Rachel Baggaley told Vox, “I’m just devastated. He’s a very close colleague whom I work with on a daily basis. He just had his birthday, he was going to plan all sorts of celebrations.”

AIDS campaigner Pim de Kuijer was another victim. Former Member of the European Parliament Lousewies van der Laan said, “Pim believed in understanding between countries, the rule of law and equality for all and fought for his values through his work and his political activities. Let’s try to live up to his legacy and work even harder towards a peaceful world.”

The United Nations reported that 80 of the 298 aboard the crashed jet were children. The accident scattered bodies over miles of rebel-held territory near the border with Russia.

“Makeshift white flags marked where bodies lay in corn fields and among the debris. Others, stripped bare by the force of the crash, had been covered by polythene sheeting weighed down by stones, one marked with a flower in remembrance,” writes Reuters.

One pensioner told how a woman smashed though her roof. “There was a howling noise and everything started to rattle. Then objects started falling out of the sky,” said Irina Tipunova, 65. “And then I heard a roar and she landed in the kitchen.”

U.S. investigators are to head at the scene to assist in the investigation, staff from Europe’s OSCE security body visited the site but complained that they did not have the full access they wanted.

“We encountered armed personnel who acted in a very impolite and unprofessional manner. Some of them even looked slightly intoxicated,” an OSCE spokesman said.

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