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Published: Friday July 18, 2014 MYT 2:30:00 AM
Updated: Friday July 18, 2014 MYT 8:47:56 AM

MAS: Contact with Flight MH17 was lost at 10.15pm

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines lost contact with Flight MH17 at 1415 GMT (10.15pm Malaysian time) approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.

In a statement, the airline said it received notification from Ukrainian air traffic service that it had lost contact with the plane 30km from Tamak waypoint.

The plane, a Boeing 777-200ER, had left Amsterdam at 12.15pm local time (6.15pm Malaysian time) and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10am Malaysian time today. Earlier yesterday, MAS tweeted that it had lost contact with MH17 and its last known position was over Ukraine airspace.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tweeted that the authorities would be launching an immediate investigation on the Malaysian Airlines aircraft which was shot down in Russia.

"I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation," he tweeted minutes after the news was confirmed.

The Malaysian Embassy in Moscow said they were waiting for official response from the Russian Government about the alleged shooting down of the flight.

"We are still waiting for more information," said an official when contacted by The Star.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai is getting further updates from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) on the flight that crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the ministry and the Armed Forces were still trying to verify whether the crash was due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

"All relevant Malaysian authorities are contacting their Russian counterpart," he said.

Liow, who is in Beijing at the moment, said he was rushing back to Malaysia and would take charge once he arrives.

"I was shocked and sad when informed by the Ukraine authorities of the tragedy at 10.36pm. We are still investigating and will provide more details once we have them.

"I am checking with MAS. I will be back in Malaysia today and take charge. I am here (Beijing) to talk about MH370 but since this has happened, I will have to rush back," he said when contacted late last night. He is expected to arrive at 7am today.

MAS sources said the plane did not enter Russian airspace. They said the plane was shot down while cruising at an altitude of 30,000ft.

Boeing, in a statement, said it was ready to provide any assistance necessary.

Tags / Keywords: MH17 crash, MAS, Ukraine

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