Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Shot Down

Flight Falls From Sky and Investigation is Hindered


The path to disaster for the MH17 plane. Source: BBC News from Flight Radar 24

Heather Gammon, Co-Editor-in-Chief

It was a normal day and a routine flight. There was nothing to be concerned about. Yet an ordinary flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur turned deadly for the 298 people on board.


According to Malaysia Airlines, the plane departed Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport at 10:15 GMT on 17 July and was due to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport twelve hours later. All was going well until the airline tower lost contact with the plane four hours later at 14:15 GMT, at which time the plane was 9 miles from the Russia-Ukraine border, a conflict-ridden region.


This disappearance from the radar was extremely alarming and lamentable, though not inconceivable. After all, this airplane liner has been plagued with recent tragedies, such as the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Bejing this past March.


But the wait for information wasn’t long. Soon, footage surfaced of the wreckage and debris scattered about, torn apart like the very bodies of the passengers. And the culprits? We don’t know. And it remains unclear if we will ever know. The two sides in Ukraine’s civil conflict have accused each other of shooting down the jet with a missile.


In response to global outrage, the Ukrainian government has initiated an investigation and invited Malaysia to participate. Sixty-two officials from Malaysia have flown to Kiev. In an attempt to seal the site, The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has sent a team of international monitors to the crash site. However, they have had their movements restricted by militiamen. In other words, the site of the crash is not contained, and the very reliability of information gathered there is threatened.


Stakes are high as this disaster occurs in a time of  already unstable relations between the Ukraine and Russia.  Increasing sanctions have been imposed upon Russia because even after the crash, Russia was stepping up its military support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine, who possibly shot down the plane. Everything will now depend upon obtaining verifiable data about what brought the aircraft down.