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Press Review: Ukraine MH17 Plane Crash

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Press Review: Ukraine MH17 Plane Crash


Euronews has been tracking the international response to the downing of the Malaysian plane MH17 in Ukraine, which happened on Thursday evening. The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over the airspace of Ukrainian and pro-Russian rebel fighting. Many major government leaders expressed shock and condolences for the victims of the crash, including the Russian Prime Minister Medvedv, and the Malaysian Prime Minister. But the international media coverage swiftly moved on to trying to ascertain why the plane was downed in the first place.

A press release by Malaysian Airlines defended the route it took through the warzone, as well as the height at which the pilots flew the plane, which deviated slightly from the typical flight path . “The usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.” The plane was also flying at 33,000 feet, only a thousand feet higher than the required 32,000 to be in safe airspace, claims CBS.

Much of the Western media has been focused on who could have shot down the plane and with what. The BBC retrieved a tweet in Russian by the separatist rebels which has subsequently been taken down, which purportedly claims that the separatists have successfully captured a surface-to-air missile system called Buk, which has the capacity to down planes flying at aforementioned height.

Ukrainian media station Hromadske pointed to two previously downed Ukrainian military planes in this past week to support the idea that the rebels have Buk, but Time reports that pro-Russian rebels have now denied they have the technology to bring down planes.

USA Today released an infographic of where the previous planes had been shot down in the past week, all of which were near the crash site of the Malaysia flight, and both of which had been shot down using missiles.

The airspace above Ukraine has quickly been cleared as seen in these two data analysis images.

Russian newspapers this morning claim that the plane “crashed” (Moscow Times front page 18.07), suggesting Ukrainian forces downed the plane. The Ukrainian government responded by releasing an unverified video on the Ukrainian Security Services’ Youtube channel of audio of the rebels claiming at first that the plane which had been shot down was another Ukrainian transport plane, but then discovering it in fact was a civilian aircraft. The audio then suggests that ‘Kozitsyn’, depicted as a General of some sort, responded by saying ‘Well then (the plane was) bringing spies. Why the hell were they flying?’

As the debate continues as to who was responsible, the question now is who will end up with the black boxes belonging to the downed plane- whichever organisation has it will control the information surrounding the flight’s last moments in air. A black box allows flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorders to be accessed. ABC News claims that the armed pro-Russian Separatists who call themselves the Donetsk People’s Republic were the first responders, but have agreed to hand over the first black box to Russian authorities. A second voice recorder was found amid the wreckage by rescue workers, according to a Reuters report on Friday morning. Yet confusion stilll remains as to who has the first black box, why it was removed from the scene originally, and what will happen to the second box.

Reactions to the human tragedy have been broadcast since the breaking of the news. This Youtube video of the crash and the local Ukrainians’ reactions has received over 3 million views in the short time period.

CNN also gathered photographs of mourners grieving for their lost friends and relatives. 295 people were killed, of which 176 were Dutch . The Netherlands has declared a national day of mourning in response.
The Huffington Post collected images of the crash itself.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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