[UPDATE: 2:26am, 19 July] Google Malaysia has lit a candle on its front page, in memory of MH17. Read more to see it.
[UPDATE: 11:29pm, 18 July] PM Najib Razak has announced that all flags are to be flown at half-mast until this coming Monday.
[UPDATE: 4:36pm, 18 July] The second black box of flight MH17 has been found. More details after the jump.
[UPDATE: 2:00pm, 18 July] Malaysia Airlines has released another statement, shedding light on the aircraft’s bill of health.
[UPDATE: 9:19AM, 18 July]: Malaysia Airlines has released a media statement, revising the total number of passengers on board.
[UPDATE: 4:45AM, 18 July]: The MH17 press conference with PM Najib Razak has finally taken place. Read more for details.
[UPDATE: 2:18AM, 18 July]: We’ve posted a clip from a RT that summarises the latest update on flight MH17 so far. Read more to view.
[UPDATE: 2:03AM, 18 July]: The Prime Minister Najib Razak has arrived at KLIA to be briefed on the situation regarding MH17. A press conference has apparently been scheduled at 400AM. Read more for details.
[UPDATE: 1:16AM, 18 July]: Pictures by Reuters from the crash site have appeared online, which confirmed everyone’s fears that the plane has indeed crashed. Read more for details. (WARNING: MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES)
[UPDATE: 12:30AM, 18 July]: Malaysia Airlines has published its first media statement regarding this incident. Read more for the full statement.
[ORIGINAL POST: 11:45PM, 17 July]:
We’re getting reports that a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed near Donetsk, Ukraine. Shown above is a video that is claimed to be taken at the crash site while below is its last known route:
[UPDATE: 12:30AM, 18 July]: Here’s Malaysia Airlines’ first official statement regarding the incident, as posted on its Facebook page:
#MASalert – Media Statement 1 – MH17 Incident
Released at 12:30am/18 July 2014
Malaysia Airlines confirms it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT) at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.
Flight MH17 operated on a Boeing 777 departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm (Amsterdam local time) and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 am (Malaysia local time) the next day.
The flight was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew onboard.
More details to follow.
[UPDATE: 1:16AM, 18 July]: Photos from the crash site are starting to appear online. May contain graphic images, proceed with caution.
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) July 17, 2014
There are more here in Reuters’ photo slideshow.
[UPDATE: 2:03AM, 18 July]: The PM has arrived at KLIA to be briefed on the situation.
At the same time, a press conference has apparently been scheduled to take place at 400AM:
— Astro AWANI (@501Awani) July 17, 2014
[UPDATE: 2:18AM, 18 July]: A clip from a RT that pretty much summed up the what is happening right now at the crash site of MH17: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fjpB5gw3iM
[UPDATE: 4:45AM, 18 July]: The press conference in KLIA that was supposed to take place at 400AM has finally happened and Prime Minister Najib Razak has confirmed that it was indeed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed down in Eastern Ukraine. Here are other details that the PM has mentioned at the press conference: – Flight path was declared safe by IATA – No distress call was made by MH17. – Ukrainian authorities believed that the plane was shot down but at this stage, the Malaysian government is not able to verify the cause. However, if that is indeed the case, Malaysia insists that the person responsible for the tragedy must be brought to justice swiftly. – Malaysian will be sending a special disaster rescue team and a medical team to Kiev in order to provide assistance at the crash site. – Ukrainian president has confirmed that the Ukrainian government will negotiate with the rebels in Eastern Ukraine in order to establish a humanitarian corridor that would allow access to the crash site. The full statement is available at MAS official website.
[UPDATE: 9:19AM, 18 July]: Malaysia Airlines has revised the total number of passengers on board. Its latest media statement states that there are 298 passengers on board, instead of the original 295 as mentioned. The additional passengers are three infants, who were naturally not assigned seats, also on board. The full list of passengers and nationalities are as follows: Total 154 43 (including 15 crew & 2 infants) 27 12 (including 1 infant) 9 4 4 3 1 41 298 Malaysia Australia Indonesia United Kingdom Germany Belgium Philippines Canada Unverified Total
The national airline has also stated that it is now in the process of notifying the next-of-kin, before releasing the passenger manifest. https://twitter.com/MAS/statuses/489935521209008129 In addition, MAS also reiterated that the flight path taken by flight MH17 was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and that there were no restrictions on the flight route taken. However, in the aftermath of this tragedy, the airline has stated that with immediate effect, all European flights operated by MAS will be taking alternative routes. The full statement is available here.
[UPDATE: 2:00PM, 18 July]: Malaysia Airlines has released another statement to the media, this time on MH17’s Boeing 777 aircraft. According to the airline, the Boeing 777-200 had just completed its scheduled maintenance check seven days ago, and has had a clean track record in its 17 years of service. It was manufactured in July 1997. https://twitter.com/MAS/status/490010396808339458 At its last scheduled maintenance check, the aircraft was in a clean bill of health, and all communication systems on the aeroplane was functioning normally. The full statement is available here.
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 17, 2014
[UPDATE: 4:36pm, 18 July]: Reuters have reported that the second black box in flight MH17 has been found. Rescue workers have recovered the black box, after one of the black boxes was recovered by pro-Russian separatists. More: Reuters
[UPDATE: 11:29pm, 18 July]: PM Najib Razak has announced that all flags are to be flown at half-mast until this coming Monday, 21 July:
Tragedi MH17: Kerajaan putuskan bermula malam ini sehingga Isnin depan, bendera dikibarkan separuh tiang di seluruh negara – PM Najib
— BERNAMA (@bernamadotcom) July 18, 2014
[UPDATE: 2:26am, 19 July]: It appears that Google Malaysia has lit up a virtual candle just underneath the search buttons of its front page, in memory of the MH17. Here’s how it looks like, in English and Bahasa Melayu:
“Today, regardless of nationalities, we are all united in grief,” – PM Najib Razak.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those that perished in the MH17 tragedy, as well as their family members and loved ones.
[MH17’s aircraft image: Andreas Fietz. Additional updates by Chief Chapree & Pang Tun Yau]