Kiev: A Malaysian passenger liner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in insurgency-wracked east Ukraine, regional officials said Thursday, as Ukraine’s president said the jet may have been shot down.
Malaysia Airlines said it had “lost contact” with the Boeing passenger liner, which Ukrainian officials said had come down in a rebel-held zone in the Donetsk region.
“Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam,” the airline, still reeling from the disappearance of flight MH370, said on its Twitter account.
“The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace,” it said, promising more details soon.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the jet may have been shot down.
“We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky,” Poroshenko said in a statement posted on the president’s website.
Regional officials in Donetsk confirmed the plane had come down near the town of Shaktarsk.
“The number of dead is not yet known,” the administration said in a statement.
Emergency services were rushing to the scene, a security source told Interfax-Ukraine.
US stocks fell sharply following reports the Malaysia Airlines plane had been shot down, while Britain’s Foreign Office said it was “working urgently to find out what’s happened.”
The incident comes just months after Malaysia’s Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 with 239 on board. The plane diverted from its Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight path and its fate remains a mystery despite a massive aerial and underwater search.