MOSCOW, July 17. /ITAR-TASS/. A Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 passenger plane crashed in Ukraine 60 km from the Russian border. All of the 285 people aboard it are believed to be dead, a source in the Russian air traffic community said.
A source in air traffic control circles said earlier that there were no Russian citizens on board.
Preliminary information about the Boeing 777 crash
According to information available, the flight #MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines plane en route to Kuala Lumpur departed on Thursday from Amsterdam without delays nearly at 12:00 local time (10:00 UTC), the press service of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport told ITAR-TASS.
The press service added that experts are currently checking the reports on the possible catastrophe. “We are looking into the situation, and we haven’t got any information on this yet,” the press service said.
A source in air traffic control circles noted that the airliner flying at the altitude of more than 10 thousand meters was supposed to enter the Russian air space at 17:20 Moscow standard time (13:20 UTC).
“However, it fell down in 60 km from the border; the plane’s emergency location beacon went off,” the source said.
Ukrainian media report that the plane crashed in the Donetsk region, near the Grabovo village. Meanwhile, representatives of the command of the military operation carried out by Kiev authorities in the country’s east have stated about the identification of the spot where the passenger plane fell down “north from Torez”.
The Boeing 777 haven’t communicated with Russian air traffic controllers.
A source in Russia’s aviation watchdog Rosaviatsia said that according to data available the airliner “was moving at the altitude of 10,600 meters on the 350th flight level”. The flight was supposed to transit over the territory of Ukraine and Russia. “The Boeing did not establish contact with the Rostov air traffic control center,” the source told ITAR-TASS.
The flight level, on which the crashed Boeing was moving, was opened for international transit flights, Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise told ITAR-TASS.
“According to the "НОТАМ" telegram circulated recently by the State Aviation Service of Ukraine, international transit flights were allowed at this flight level,” the agency’s source said.
He specified that, according to the telegram, “Flights over the 302 level, i.e. 9,600 meters, were allowed by the country’s aviation authorities”.
Russian combat aircraft did not make any sorties on Thursday on the territory of the regions neighboring Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters.
“There were no sorties in the areas bordering Donetsk today and this is easily proved with the aid of air data recording systems,” he said.
Relocation of Ukraine's antiaircraft missile systems
A well-informed source informed with reference to objective control data that on Wednesday, a battery of Buk antiaircraft missile systems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was deployed near Donetsk. At present, another battery of the same missile systems is being loaded in Kharkiv, the source said. He also noted that aircraft flying at the altitude of more than 10 thousand meters might be hit only with weapons like S-300 or Buk. According to the source, the militias don’t have such weapons, and cannot afford them.
“The relevant communication infrastructure is destroyed” in Ukraine’s east
Civil aviation flights cannot be performed in the airspace over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, since “The relevant communication infrastructure is destroyed” there, a representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said.
“The air traffic control of all passenger flights is carried out from Kiev. It is unclear how a plane could get there,” he said. “In the clashes in Donetsk airport, the communication tower that was part of the unified controlling system, was exploded. Planes cannot fly here,” he added.
July 8, the Ukrainian aviation watchdog decided to close the air space over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for all flights of civil aviation “in order to provide proper level of flight safety”.