Jul 17, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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A Malaysian airliner with 295 people on-board has crashed over eastern Ukraine.

Anton Gerashenko, an  advisor to Ukraine’s interior minister, posted on his Facebook page that the Boeing 777 was cruising at an altitude of 10,000 metres when it was hit by a missle fired from a “Buk” launcher.

Aviation authorities still don’t know what exactly caused the crash.

Both Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists are denying responsibility.

An official with Malaysia Airlines says at least one Canadian was among the 295 people aboard the plane.

Huib Gorter, the airline’s senior senior vice-president, says 154 people were Dutch, 27 were Australians, 23 were Malaysians, 11 were Indonesian, six were from the United Kingdom, four were from Germany, four were from Belgium, and three were from the Philippines.

Gorter says authorities are still trying to determine the nationalities of the rest of the passengers.

Malaysia’s prime minister says the jetliner did not make any distress call before it went down.

Najib Razak also says the flight route had been declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

A U.S. official says that American intelligence authorities now believe a surface-to-air missile took down the Malaysian passenger plane.

The official says the U.S. is still working to determine additional details about the crash, including who fired the missile and whether it came from the Russian or Ukraine side of the border. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. has sophisticated technologies that can detect missile launches, including the identification of heat from the rocket engine.

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