Searchers Find Remains and Belongings After Malaysia Air Crash

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

President Barack Obama says one American was killed on the plane over Ukraine. He says the airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

MGN Online

ROZSPYNE, Ukraine (AP) - Emergency workers, police officers and dozens of off-duty coal miners are among those searching the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines jet that was shot down yesterday.

They've spread out across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, where they are finding human remains and personal belongings.

The debris includes smashed watches and mobile phones, charred boarding passes and passports.

The crash site is spread over fields between two villages, about 25 miles from the Russian border. Lines of men have been venturing into the thick, tall growth that reached over their heads. One man fainted after finding a body.

In one of the villages, large numbers of sticks with red or white rags attached are marking the spots where body parts were found.

Large chunks of the Boeing 777 with the airline's red, white and blue markings are strewn across one field. The cockpit and one turbine are a half-mile apart, while the tail landed six miles away.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The nearly 300 people who died on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 included international passengers from all walks of life -- among them, a prominent AIDS researcher, a florist and a nun.

Several passengers were traveling to Melbourne, Australia, for the 20th International AIDS conference, which starts Sunday. The Academic Medical Center hospital in Amsterdam said in a statement that two of its staff, including renowned AIDS researcher Joep Lange, a former president of the International AIDS Society, are believed to have died.

Students at an Australian Catholic school gathered today for a special prayer meeting after it was confirmed that a 77-year-old teacher -- Sister Philomene Tiernan -- had been killed.

In the close-knit fishing town of Volendam, near the Dutch capital, flowers were laid outside a florist's shop. The owner and her boyfriend were believed to be among the victims.

A Malaysia Airlines vice president says 189 of the passengers were Dutch. There were also 29 Malaysians, 28 Australians, 12 Indonesians and nine from the United Kingdom. The passengers also included four each from Germany and Belgium, three from the Philippines and one each from Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Two passengers' nationalities remained to be confirmed.

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - A pro-Russia rebel leader says no black boxes have been found in the scattered wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down over eastern Ukraine, conflicting with a statement made by an aide to a rebel military leader.

Separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai says "no black boxes have been found ... We hope that experts will track them down and create a picture of what has happened."

Earlier Friday, an aide to rebel military leader Igor Girkin, a Russian better known by his assumed name Strelkov, said authorities had recovered eight out of 12 recording devices.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was carrying 298 people when it was shot of the sky on Thursday near the Ukraine-Russia border.

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MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladmir Putin says Ukraine bears responsibility for the crash of a Malaysian airliner.

A Kremlin statement early Friday said Putin opened a meeting with his economic advisers by calling for a moment of silence over the crash.

Then, he said, "This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy."

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia's prime minister says a Malaysia Airlines jetliner did not make any distress call before it went down in Ukraine, and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters that Ukrainian authorities believe the Boeing 777, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down.

He says that Malaysia, however, is unable to verify "the cause of this tragedy but we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight.

This is the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines this year. Its Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

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HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine's security services produced what they said were two intercepted telephone conversations that they said showed rebels were responsible for downing a Malaysian airliner.

In the first call, the security services said, rebel commander Igor Bezler tells a Russian military intelligence officer that rebel forces shot down a plane Thursday.

In the second, two rebel fighters - one of them at the scene of the crash - say the rocket attack was carried out by a unit of insurgents about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of the crash site.

Neither recording could be independently verified.

One of the fighters, who states he is at the site of where the plane came to the ground, describes seeing scattered debris. He later describes finding the documents of somebody he identifies as an Indonesian national studying at "Thompson University."

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HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) - A Russian news agency has quoted a leader of eastern Ukraine's pro-Russia rebels as saying they intend to call a three-day cease fire to allow an investigation of the crash of a Malaysian airliner.

The RIA-Novosti agency on Thursday quoted rebel leader Alexander Borodai as saying discussions were underway with Ukrainian authorities on calling the short truce for humanitarian reasons.

He said international organizations would be allowed into the conflict-plagued region.

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Separatist rebels in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have denied that they are responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane.

Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister for the rebels, told The Associated Press the plane must have been shot down by Ukrainian government troops. He gave no proof for his statement, and Ukraine earlier denied shooting at any airborne targets.

A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over eastern Ukraine.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is asking his advisers to keep him updated on reports of a plane shot down over Ukraine. But the White House says it can't confirm the reports.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest says Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned initial reports of a downed passenger jet near the border with Russia during a phone call with Obama Thursday morning.

Earnest says the incident came up near the end of a call requested by Moscow to discuss sanctions the U.S. imposed Wednesday on Russia. Obama and Putin spoke before Obama left on a trip to Delaware and New York.

A Ukrainian official says a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines has lost contact with a plane in that area.

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - A Malaysian Airlines plane has apparently been shot down over eastern Ukraine.

A Ukrainian official says a passenger plane with 295 people aboard was shot down over a town in the country's east. And Malaysian Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace.

An adviser to Ukraine's interior minister said on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet. He said it was hit by a missile fired by a type of launcher that can fire missiles as high as 72,000 feet.

The government in the Donetsk region of Ukraine says the plane crashed near a village called Grabovo, which it said is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatists.

The region has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and the separatists in recent days.

Yesterday evening, Ukrainian officials say, a Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane. It adds to what Ukraine says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine.


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