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LIVE BLOG: MH17 crash aftermath

Malaysia Airlines MH17 carrying 298 people has crashed in eastern Ukraine, after being allegedly shot down by militants. Follow our live coverage in the aftermath of the crash. 

This live blog is now closed. For the latest updates on the MH17 crash, visit our new live blog here.

All times listed are Singapore/Kuala Lumpur time.

12.38AM: The Russian-made "Buk" missile is in the spotlight, as the possible cause for the MH17 crash.

11.53PM: President Obama is speaking now on MH17. He says the deaths are an "outrage of unspeakable proportion". "This is a global tragedy, so there has to be a credible international investigation." He says evidence suggests a surface-to-air missile brought the jet down. "That shot was fired over territory controlled by the pro-Russian separatists." Mr Obama says Russia, pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine must adhere to an immediate ceasefire.

11.27PM: Prime Minister Najib Razak is addressing Malaysians on TV. He announces that the nation will be in mourning till Monday, July 21. He says although it's believed the plane was shot down, Malaysia will not point fingers until the information is verified. 

10.33PM: "The context of yesterday's horror is clear. Separatist forces, backed by the Russian government continue to destabilise Ukraine and undermine the efforts of Ukraine's elected leaders to build a democratic Ukraine that is stable, unified and secure, and able to determine its own future," says US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power. "Russia can end this war. Russia must end this war." She teared up when talking about infants among the 298 people killed.

10.24PM: Russian President Vladimir Putin offers Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak condolences over MH17 and both sides called for an objective international investigation, says a Kremlin statement.

10.16PM: "We hope the shock of the MH17 downing will prompt a serious and sustained effort to stop the fighting in Ukraine": UN Under-Secretary General

10.10PM: The UN Security Council has held a minute's silence for victims of the MH17 disaster. The UN Chief is alarmed at the "seemingly credible numerous reports" suggesting that a sophisticated surface-to-air missile was used to bring down the Malaysian airliner, says the UN Under-Secretary General. The UN official expresses shock that nearly 300 people lost their lives - among them 80 children.

10PM: The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting for MH17. It is calling for a "full, thorough and independent" international investigation into the downing of the plane.

Separately, Singapore leaders have sent their condolences to their foreign counterparts in the wake of the tragedy.

8.14PM: New Malaysia Airlines statement: Four passengers' nationalities still unidentified. What we know about those onboard: 189 from Netherlands, 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 9 from the UK, 4 Belgians, 4 Germans, 1 Canadian, 1 from New Zealand. 

MAS says its flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, which oversees navigation for airspace in Europe:

"The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before.

In April, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) identified an area over the Crimean peninsula as risky. At no point did MH17 fly into, or request to fly into, this area. At all times, MH17 was in airspace approved by the ICAO."

MAS also says MH17 requested to fly at optimum altitude of 35,000ft throughout Ukrainian airspace but was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft.

8.01PM: Russian President Vladimir Putin calls for a ceasefire in east Ukraine to allow for negotiations: Reuters. Interfax reports that a second black box has been found by Ukraine emergency services.

7.20PM: Top separatist leader in east Ukraine Alexander Borodai rules out a ceasefire, but says he will let experts access the area where MH17 crashed. Meantime, MAS has released the cargo manifest for the flight, showing the plane carried live pigeons, dogs, fresh cut flowers, aircraft parts and diplomatic mail.

6.38PM: Rescuers have recovered 181 bodies as they slowly pick through ground zero.

6.09PM: They lost two members when MH370 disappeared, and now one Australian family is coming to grips with news that they have lost two more loved ones after MH17 went down.

5.48PM: Radar facility activity from a Ukrainian "Buk" missile system picked up by Russian Defence Ministry on the day MH17 crashed: RIA News

4.40PM: "This is not an accident, it is a crime," says Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott of the MH17 tragedy, adding that Russia's response is "deeply unsatisfactory". 27 Australian nationals were on board.

4.26PM: Malaysia Airlines says it has no plan to fly next-of-kin to Ukraine but will send 40 staff over to offer assistance.

4.15PM: Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai holding press conference now, releases updated numbers for nationalities of passengers: 173 Dutch (previously 154), 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 9 Britons, 4 Germans, 4 Belgians, 3 Filipinos, 1 Kiwi, 1 Canadian. A total of 20 passengers remain unverified, due to them boarding the plane on transit. 

Mr Liow reiterates that the flight path was approved and the airspace unrestricted - 15 to 16 other airlines in Asia-Pacific use the route. No last-minute instructions were given to MH17 pilots to change flight route, he says. He also denied that MH17 took the route to save money.

"In recent hours, US and Ukrainian officials indicated MH17 was shot down. Should this be confirmed, it will contravene international law and be an outrage of human decency.
Malaysia condemns any such action in strongest possible terms and calls for those responsible to be swiftly brought to justice." - Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia Transport Minister

READ the summary of his press conference here

Kiev is promising Malaysian specialists a safety corridor to access the crash site.

4.10PM: Malaysian Airlines is trying to arrange safe access for relatives of victims to the area in Donetsk region where MH17 crashed, Reuters reported, citing a spokeswoman for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

3.15PM: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s step-grandmother Siti Amirah was one of the 43 Malaysians who are believed to have perished when flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine on Thursday, The Star newspaper reports.

2.50PM: Reuters reports that rescue workers have recovered a second flight recorder.

2.44PM: Ukrainian emergency workers have found one of the plane's black box flight recorders. It was earlier believed they had been taken by pro-Russian separatists in the area.

2.34PM: reports that 121 bodies have been recovered from the MH17 wreck. At least 95 rescuers and 18 vehicles are now recovering the remains, according to the press service of Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry.

2.10PM: Did Ukrainian separatist rebels mistake MH17 for the Antonov An-26 army plane?

2.05PM: Malaysia's Transport Minister has rescheduled his press conference to 4pm local time.


1.37PM: MH17 is a 17 year old plane - had its last maintenance check on July 11, Malaysia Airlines says in a statement.

1.43PM: Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tweets that he has called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to offer condolences and assistance.

12.38PM: Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the country "stands in solidarity" with Malaysia, and is ready to offer any possible assistance in wake of MH17 crash.

12.12PM: As many as 100 of those killed on MH17 were AIDS researchers, health workers and activists heading to Australia for a global AIDS conference, AFP reports. Former president of the International AIDS Society, Professor Joep Lange, is said to be among those on board.

11.33AM: Several other airlines in Asia Pacific, including Korean Air, Asiana and Qantas, are saying that they stopped flying in Ukraine airspace several months ago.

11.00AM: Singapore Airlines said in a Facebook post early Friday morning that SIA aircraft do not fly in Ukraine airspace.

10.53AM: The White House has called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine in the wake of the MH17 crash. "It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. We urge all concerned – Russia, the pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine – to support an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains," Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

10.43AMThe United States has called for an unimpeded and prompt probe into the apparent shooting down of flight MH17, and said evidence from the crash site must not be moved.

9.26AM: Malaysia Airlines says it will waive all fees for changes to travel from today until next Friday (July 25):

9.02AM: Rebel forces have offered security guarantees to international observers and investigators at the crash site of MH17, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said in a statement following a Trilateral Contact Group convening in Kiev, Ukraine. Full statement below: 

9.10AM: Shares in Malaysia Airlines tumbled 17.8 per cent on Friday following news of the MH17 crash.

8.52AM: Malaysia Airlines tweets: "We are in the process of notifying #MH17 next-of-kin. Once all have been notified, the passenger's manifest will be released."

8.35AM: Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai to hold press conference at 11am local time.

7.40AM: Latest passenger manifest details from Malaysia Airlines: 154 Dutch, 43 Malaysians (including 15 crew and 2 infants), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians (including 1 infant), 9 Britons, 4 Germans, 4 Belgians, 3 Filipinos, 1 Canadian. 41 passengers remain unverified.

7.30AM: Malaysia Airlines says in a statement that with immediate effect, all European flights operated by the airline will take alternative routes.

The airline also confirms MH17 did not make a distress call, and that the usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. International Air Transportation Association has also stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.

7.20AM: US officials, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, have confirmed MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by a surface-to-air missile Thursday but it was unclear who fired the weapon. 

6.46AM: AFP reports that social media posts by pro-Russian insurgents - most of them hastily removed - suggest the rebels thought they had shot down a Ukrainian army plane before realising in horror that it was in fact a packed Malaysian airliner.

2.50AM: FlightRadar24 says Singapore Airlines SQ351 and Air India AI113 were about 25km from MH17 when it disappeared. 

2.37AM: A FlightRadar24 map showing an obvious empty space over Ukraine as airlines direct planes to avoid the area. 

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