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.
Read more about the investigation on WTOP.com.
Get the latest updates and expert analysis about the crash in the WTOP live blog.
Dr. Robert Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland and co-discoverer of the AIDS virus
"It'll certainly slow things down in several areas of applied research," he says of the AIDS researchers and experts killed aboard MH17.
"It's hard to comment on lunacy."
Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation speak to a pro-Russia fighter at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, Friday, July 18, 2014. Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and four Ukrainian experts had traveled into rebel-controlled areas to begin an investigation into the attack that killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Shawn Jain - director of communications for Whitman Walker Health. He previously served as communications coordinator for the 2012 international AIDS conference held in D.C.
"To hear that these folks, who were giants in the field, were lost in such a tragic way on their way to the International AIDS Conference is an incalculable loss."
He says HIV/AIDS researchers are a "resilient group" and they will carry on the torch.
The conferences are generally a time of reflection on the lives lost and continue to be lost to AIDS.
"To have this happen only compounds the sense of loss that many cope with at this event."
Mike Murillo, WTOP reporter
Nearly half of those aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17 were Dutch citizens.
And on Monday, the Dutch Embassy in D.C. will open its doors to members of the public who want to share their condolences, with a condolence register available to sign.
Staff at the embassy plans to hold a moment of silence for the victims.
Malaysia Airlines and relevant governments released these figures Friday afternoon:
Malaysia: 44 (including 15 crew and two infants)
Indonesia: 12 (including one infant)
United Kingdom: 10
United States: 1
New Zealand: 1
Hong Kong: 1
Greg Feith - NBC News aviation correspondent
The airspace over the disputed territory in the eastern Ukraine is now closed and all commercial flights are being rerouted.
The crew of MH17 had no way to detect that a missile was headed toward the plane.
The information contained on the black boxes would be limited but could help determine a timeline for investigators.
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