The plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 km and was supposed to enter Russia’s airspace at 17:20 Moscow time. Malaysian Airlines confirmed that it had lost contact with the plane over Ukraine.
A source in the Russian Federal Agency for Air Transportation said the plane’s crew had not contacted Russian air traffic controllers. The plane was supposed to fly through Ukraine and Russia.
Ukraine’s air navigation service said there were 280 people and 15 crewmembers aboard the plane.
A source in the aviation circles told ITAR-TASS that up to 300 people could have been travelling by that flight. “It crashed 60 km from the border. Its emergency locator beacon sent a signal,” the official said.
A competent source cited objective control data as indicating that the Ukrainian army’s Buk air defense battalion had been moved to the Donetsk area on Wednesday, July 16. Another such battalion is getting ready for redeployment in Kharkov.The source said aircraft flying at altitudes higher than 10,000 meters could be reached only by weapons like S-300 or Buk systems. The militia does not have and cannot have such weapons, the source said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered the creation of a government commission, with the participation of ICAO officials and representatives of the Netherlands and Malaysia, to investigate the accident.
The presidential press service said “the armed forces of Ukraine did not take any actions against air targets”.
Its maximum takeoff weight is up to 350 tonnes (777-300ER version), wing span 64.8 meters, length 73.86 meters, height 18.99 meters, range (for 77-200LR version) about 17,500 kilometers. The plane can seat up to 451 people, depending on the version.
It’s the world’s biggest twin-engine passenger jetliner with the longest flying range. In 2005, Boeing 777-200LR set an absolute world record in nonstop flights for passenger planes having traveled a distance of 21,601 kilometers.
The plane has two engines supplied by Rolls-Royce, General Electric or Pratt & Whitney.
Boeing has made about 1,200 such planes. More than 500 companies around the world make some 3 million components for them.
Boeing-777 is operated by more than 60 airlines in different parts of the world, including Russia’s Aeroflot, Transaero, Orenair, and Nordwind Airlines.
Up to date there was only one accident with a Boeing-777 plane on July 6, 2013, when it crash-landed in San Francisco and burst into flames. Three people died.
On March 8, 2014, a Boeing-777 plane belonging to Malaysia Airlines disappeared from the radars en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane and all of the 239 people aboard it are still missing.
The plane that crashed in Ukraine is a 777-2H6ER version of the Boeing, serial number 28411. It made its first flight precisely 17 years ago on July 17, 1997; registration number 9M-MRD. It was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.