A hunt for wreckage and evidence is underway in eastern Ukraine Friday after a Malaysia Airlines jetliner with 298 passengers was shot down.
U.S. intelligence authorities said a surface-to-air missile brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Thursday as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, but could not say who fired it.
The Ukraine government in Kiev, the separatist pro-Russia rebels they are fighting and the Russia government that Ukraine accuses of supporting the rebels all deny shooting the passenger plane down. Moscow also denies backing the rebels.
Bodies, debris and burning wreckage of the Boeing 777 were strewn over a field near the rebel-held village of Hrabove in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border, where fighting has raged for months.
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Kevin Robillard - transportation reporter for POLITICO
It's not unusual for civilian planes to fly over war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan for example. Malaysian Airlines has flown this path daily.
"There's also the question here of whether the NTSB or any real civil aviation authority would ever get a chance to investigate this."
In the past, investigations of planes that have been shot down have become very political and countries don't always share information with each other. The International Civil Aviation Organization, which is like an international FAA, investigated when the Soviets shot down a Korean Airlines flight in the 1980s.
Украина. Торез. Ополченцы террористы сбили пассажирский самолет Боинг 17.07.2014 (Video is said to show smoke rising above the site of the plane crash in eastern Ukraine.)
Michael O'Hanlon - military analyst and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
He believes the Malaysian plane was likely shot down by mistake. There are lot of similarities between large bodied aircraft including passenger planes and military transport aircraft like the one shot down earlier this week.
"That's a fairly believable mistake. It's not necessarily something a particularly experienced crew would or should make, but it's possible."
On admitting fault:
"Nobody would want to be seen as guilty."
If the pro-Russian separatists were responsible for bringing down the plane, it was likely a mistake because they gain nothing from angering the rest of the world and are not fighting the U.S. or Malaysia.
Known map of the path of Malaysian flight MH17. Here are more photos: bit.ly
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