Latest developments in MH17 disaster
AS the investigation into the air tragedy yesterday in Ukraine continues, here are the biggest developments in the story:
- The US is sending expert FBI investigators to the scene of the accident
- Malaysia Airlines says nationalities of two passengers still unknown
- Ukrainian defence spokesman has said MH17 was out of range of Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems and no missiles deployed during anti-terrorist operations
- The shooting down of the airliner may be a war crime under the Geneva Convention, according to experts
- Ukraine's interior ministry says it has intelligence that the plane's black boxes will be passed to the Russian Federal Security Service.
- The Malaysian Transport Minister has said the plane was on an internationally approved flight path.
- No distress signal was sent from the plane.
- The US government has confirmed that that the plane was shot down. Earlier suggestions had speculated that there may have been a bomb in the luggage hold or some catastrophic system failure which could have led to the crash – however these alternatives have now been ruled out.
- The United States has officially warned pro-Russian separatists not to interfere with evidence at the crash site. President Obama has demanded a ‘full and credible’ investigation into the incident. There are still fears pro-Russian separatists could hand over the black box to Russia – however overnight the separatists agreed to facilitate safe passage for international investigators to the site.
- More than 100 of the world’s leading AIDS experts are believed to have been among the victims of the crash. They were travelling to attend a conference on the virus in Australia.
- The Australian government has revealed it has lost at least 27 citizens in the disaster, with a government spokesperson saying the incident was ‘less like an accident than a crime’ – the country has summoned the Russian ambassador.
- An emergency session of the United Nations Security Council will take place later today. Western powers are expected to use the meeting to demand Russia fully co-operate with the international investigation into the downing of the plane.
- 41 victims nationalities are yet to be confirmed, however it is not believed any Irish people were on the plane.
The death toll by country currently stands:
New Zealand 1