Reports: Jet With 295 Aboard Shot Down

A Malaysian passenger airliner crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border, according to a Ukrainian official.

An adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister says a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people has been shot down over a town in the east of the country. Anton Gerashenko says on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit Thursday by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.

President Petro Poroshenko denied that Ukraine had any involvement in the plane crash.

CBS News has not confirmed that the plane was shot down.

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.”

A source told Interfax that the Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

On Monday, Ukrainian officials said one of their military transport planes was hit by a rocket and downed in the same area.

Rebels in conflict-wracked eastern Ukraine immediately claimed responsibility for downing the Antonov AN-26, but Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey said the rocket might have been fired from inside Russia.

Heletey said the plane was flying at an altitude of 21,300 feet, which he said was too high to be reached with the weapons used by the separatists fighting government troops.

According to the Interfax reports, MH17 was hit at close to normal cruising altitude for a passenger jet, around 30,000 feet. No shoulder-fired missile is capable of effectively targeting an aircraft at that altitude, lending credence to the reports that it might have been a military air defense type missile like the self-guided Buk system cited by the Russian news agency.

The NTSB, FAA and Boeing are all aware of the reports of the crashed Malaysian Airlines plane – they’re still in the process of gathering information and don’t have anything more to add at this time.

NTSB says that if this is a Boeing 777 plane, they would have stake in the investigation.

As of 9am there is live streaming coverage of the incident here with ongoing updates from CBS News.


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