A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard crashed Thursday in Ukraine near the Russian border after reportedly being hit by a missile, according to an adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry.
Anton Gerashenko, the adviser, says on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit Thursday by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, the Associated Press reports.
A similar launcher was seen by AP journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.
Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.
— Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) July 17, 2014
It was no immediately clear who would have been in control of such a launcher in the restive area where Ukrainian forces are battling ethnic Russian separatists.
Malaysia Airlines said on Twitter that it “has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.”
Russia’s Interfax news agency, quoting an unidentified aviation source, said Malaysia Airlines flies an Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur route that crosses Ukraine and Russian territory.
The unidentified source, according to Interfax, said the plane was 30 miles from Russian airspace when it began to go down. It said the burning wreckage of the plane was found on the ground in Ukraine.
The report, quoting the aviation source, says there were 280 passengers and 15 crew members aboard.