Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: What happened to the plane - A timeline

Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board. Chief suspects are pro-Russian militants in the area.

A Reuters correspondent saw burning wreckage and bodies on the ground at the village of Grabovo, about 40km from the Russian border. This is an area where pro-Russia rebels have been active and have claimed to have shot down other aircraft.

Eyewitnesses told AFP that the jet appeared to explode in mid-air before wreckage rained down over a large area.

To date, 181 bodies have been recovered at the scene, and that debris from the wreckage was spread across an area up to about 15km in diameter.

Broken pieces of the wings were marked with blue and red paint - the same colours as the emblem of the Malaysian airliner.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on his Twitter feed on Friday: "I am shocked by reports than an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation."

The incident comes after Malaysia Airlines MH370 went missing on March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board. It has not been found.

Separatist rebels in Ukraine are denying that they shot down the plane. A Ukrainian interior ministry official blamed "terrorists" using a ground-to-air missile for the tragedy.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called the downing of the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur a "catastrophe".

On Friday, rescue workers told AFP that they had found one of the black boxes from the airliner.

Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said that Ukraine would be responsible for the crash investigation and offered "unqualified support".
Malaysia Airlines is sending 40 personnel to Amsterdam to help the families of the passengers.

Click the thumbnail above to see an infographic showing what happened to the jetliner.



Thursday, July 17
6pm (Singapore time): Scheduled time of departure of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17, a Boeing 777, from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

6.15pm: MH17 departs from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew.

10.15pm: MAS confirms it received notification from Ukrainian Air Traffic Control (ATC) that it had lost contact with MH17 at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.

11.30pm: MH17 presumably crashes. MAS releases official tweet: "Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow."

11.40pm: Moscow based news agency Interfax says Malaysian passenger airliner was shot down at altitude of 10km above eastern Ukraine.

They confirmed the location of a burning Malaysian plane in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry also confirmed that all passengers and crew are dead. The aircraft was "shot down" while cruising at an altitude of 30,000ft.

Igor Strelkov, military commander of pro-Russia separatists, posted on social media shortly before MH17's crash that rebel forces had brought down an Antonov An-26, an aircraft commonly used by Ukrainian forces, in the same area.


Friday, July 18

12.03am: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders an investigation into the crash.

12.05am: Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tweets: "I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation."

12.18am: Ukrainian officials at the location of the crash confirm at least 100 bodies are found at the location and that body parts were scattered up to 15km from the site.

12.30am: Both Ukrainian authorities and rebel leaders deny shooting down MH17. A ground-to-air missile was suspected to have brought down the aircraft.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in contact with United States president Barack Obama on the crash, according to RIA news agency.

12.45am: Location of the crash site was revealed to be the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region.

2.10am: At least four French nationals were onboard MH17, says French foreign minister Laurent Fabius.

2.28am: Interfax reports that Pro-Russian separatists claim to have found MH17's black box.

4.15am: The aircraft's flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Air Transportation Association stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions, says Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak at a press conference.

MAS confirms no distress call was made by MH17, he says.

According to information provided by Kiev Air Traffic Control, the location of the plane's emergency locator beacon is 48 degrees 7 minutes and 23 seconds North; and 38 degrees 31 minutes and 33 seconds East.

Ukrainian authorities believe that the plane was shot down. However, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy, says Mr Najib.

Malaysia will endeavour to "find out precisely what happened to this flight" and promises that any perpetrators will be brought to justice.

The Malaysian government is dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a special disaster assistance and rescue team as well as a medical team.

Emergency operations centres have been established and Malaysian officials are in constant contact with counterparts in Ukraine and elsewhere, says the Prime Minister.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has pledged that there will be a full, thorough and independent investigation, says Mr Najib.

Ukraine will negotiate with rebels in the east of the country in order to establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site.

6.10am: Crashed MH17 scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia.

7.30am: MAS says that all its flights to and from Europe will take alternative routes to avoid the usual path where flight MH17 went down in eastern Ukraine.

7.30am: MAS confirms that MH17 was carrying a total of 298 people - 283 passengers, including three infants of various nationalities, and 15 Malaysian crew members - and not 295, as previously reported.

Source: The Star/Asia News Network

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