US VP Biden: Malaysian airliner was “blown out of the sky”
A US official said Friday that a surface-to-air missile struck the Malaysian Airlines plane carrying 298 people which crashed in E. Ukraine near the Russian border Thursday. The official said US intelligence and analysis of the situation determined that it was a single missile that struck the Boeing 777-200 aircraft while at cruising altitude. It is unclear whether the missile was fired from inside Ukrainian or Russian territory and who fired it, the official added. Speaking in Detroit, Vice President Joe Biden said the plane had "been shot down, not an accident. Blown out of the sky."
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew members. According to one report, 43 of the passengers were Americans. The pro-Russian separatists who control the area of the crash have agreed to allow investigators safe access to the site to recover bodies and gather evidence, according to a statement from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.