The Politicized Tragedy
The MH17 incident holds heavy implications for the future of the Ukrainian crisis
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Cover Stories Series 2014> 31> Opinion
UPDATED: July 21, 2014
Malaysia Airlines MH17 Should Not Have Been There: Australian Expert

An Australian aviation expert said Friday morning that the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 should not have been flying in a "well known problem area."

The remarks by Queensland University accident investigation and safety specialist Professor Geoff Dellcame came amid a call for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over separatist- controlled eastern Ukraine late on Thursday local time.

There have been reports that the Malaysian flight was struck by a ground to air missile in the just meters above a no fly-zone, implemented by the Ukrainian authorities for fear of such an attack.

His comments also came as revelations that both the British and the U.S. authorities had repeatedly warned airlines of the dangers of using corridors through Ukraine airspace.

According to Professor Dell, the Malaysian aircraft "should not have been flying in that track." "It's a well known problem area and most other airlines altered flight plans to avoid the route," Professor Dell said.

The region has been the epicenter of a months-old conflict where Ukrainian forces have consistently been targeted by pro- Russian separatists.

Earlier this week, pro-Russian militia were the suspects in the downing of a Ukrainian air force SU-25.

The records of Britian's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) showed a notice posted almost one month ago which called on Europe's cluttered civil air carriers not to choose to use air corridors within or surrounding the contended regions of the avoid Crimea or the Russian-Ukrainian southern borders.

These danger areas were highlighted throughout June and included the entire Crimea, Russia's Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the southern regions of Ukraine which have been the scene of intense ground and air conflict.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Friday in Kuala Lumpur at a press conference that the MH17's flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), adding that the International Air Transportation Association had stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.

Malaysia Airlines said Friday in a statement that with immediate effect, all European flights operated by the company would be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route.

It also said that "as opposed to the earlier statement, the flight was carrying a total number of 298 people comprising 283 passengers.

While saying some of the nationalities of the passengers were yet to be determined, it gave a list of number of passengers and crew according to nationality.

According to the list, there were 154 people from the Netherlands, 43 (including 15 crew and two infants) from Malaysia, 27 from Australia, 12 (including one infant) from Indonesia, nine from Britain, four from Germany, four from Belgium, three from the Philippines, one from Canada, and 41 still unverified.

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2014)

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