Malaysian Transport Minister releases details on MH17

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Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai held a press conference on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Friday around 4pm.

The plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, went down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

Here's what you need to know.

Why did the plane go down?

In recent hours, officials in the US and the Ukraine have indicated that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down. Should this be confirmed, it would contravene international law, and be an outrage against human decency.

Malaysia condemns any such action in the strongest possible terms, and calls for those responsible to be swiftly brought to justice.

Why was the plane flying in a war zone?

The flight path taken by MH17 was approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and by the countries whose airspace the route passed through. And the International Air Transportation Association has also stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was unrestricted. 

Fifteen out of 16 airlines in the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines fly this route over Ukraine. European airlines also use the same route, and traverse the same airspace. In the hours before the incident, a number of other passenger aircraft from different carriers used the same route.

There were no last minute instructions given to the pilots of MH17 to change the route of the flight. 

Who was on the flight?

MH17 was carrying 298 passengers and crew. The breakdown of nationalities are as follows:

  • 173 from the Netherlands
  • 44 Malaysians
  • 27 Australians
  • 12 Indonesians
  • 9 from the United Kingdom
  • 4 Germans
  • 4 Belgians
  • 3 Filipinos
  • 1 Canadian
  • 1 New Zealander 

The nationalities of 20 passengers have still yet to be verified as they were in transit from previous flights, and had not entered passport control in Amsterdam.

Malaysia Airlines is in the process of notifying the next of kin of those on board. Once all families have been contacted, the passenger manifest will be released.

In addition, Malaysia Airlines will release the cargo manifest later today. 

Who will be carrying out the investigation?

As set out in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Annex 13, the Ukrainian government will institute the investigation into the circumstances of the accident, and be responsible for the conduct of the investigation.

Updates on the investigation will be provided to the next of kin by the investigating authority, as per the ICAO guidelines.

Responsibility for releasing further information about the investigation rests with the investigating authority, which in this case is the Ukrainian National Bureau of Air Accidents and Incidents Investigation with Civil Aircraft.​

Will Malaysia be involved in the investigation then?

Malaysia offers its full and unqualified support to the investigation. Malaysia has been formally invited to participate, and will send two senior accredited representatives to assist.

Source: Astro Awani

Malaysia also welcomes calls for an independent international investigation into the incident, and urges all parties to co-operate to ensure such an investigation can be completed.

It is essential that the integrity of the crash site be preserved, out of respect for the investigation and for those who have died.

What is Malaysia Airlines doing to help?

Malaysia Airlines takes its responsibilities to the next of kin seriously. The airline has arranged for some 40 staff to be flown to Amsterdam, to support the families.

Separately, as the Prime Minister announced this morning, Malaysia will today dispatch a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team to Kiev.

In total, 62 people – 30 SMART team members, 15 medical staff, 10 Royal Malaysia Air Force representatives, 5 Malaysia Airlines staff, 2 Department of Civil Aviation staff – are travelling to Kiev.

Were there any issues with the plane?

Earlier today, Malaysia Airlines released a statement on the aircraft’s service record, which showed the aircraft had a clean bill of health.

They have also confirmed that all the aircraft’s systems were functioning normally. ACARS and the aircraft’s transponders were working and transmitting as normal.


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