PETALING JAYA: All flights to and from Europe operated by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will take alternative routes to avoid the usual path where flight MH17 went down in eastern Ukraine, said MAS in a media statement Friday.
“The usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions,” said MAS.
Malaysia Airlines also confirmed that the aircraft did not make any distress call.
As opposed to an earlier statement, the airline confirmed that MH17 was carrying a total number of 298 people – 283 passengers, including three infants of various nationalities, and 15 Malaysian crew members. The nationalities of some of the passengers are yet to be determined.
The list of passengers and crew according to nationality are as follows:
Malaysia 43 (including 15 crew and 2 infants)
Indonesia 12 (including 1 infant)
United Kingdom 9
MAS is currently in the process of notifying the next-of-kin of the passengers and crew.
The airline’s current focus is to work with emergency responders and authorities and mobilise its full support system to provide all possible care to the next-of-kin.
“Malaysia Airlines is deploying its ‘Go Team’ to Amsterdam with a group of caregivers and volunteers to assist family members of the passengers.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members. The airline will provide regular updates on the situation,” said the statement.
Flight MH17 disappeared from radar screens in eastern Ukraine at around 1415 GMT, hours after the Boeing 777, bound for Kuala Lumpur, had taken off from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.
The Boeing 777 is believed to have been accidentally shot down 50km from the Ukraine-Russia border.
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