PETALING JAYA: Less than an hour after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 went down near the Russia-Ukraine border, news of the incident began trending intensely on social media sites.
At 1am, nearly 1,000 tweets surfaced on Twitter with the hashtags #MH17 and #Ukraine.
People around the world tweeted their prayers for the 295 crew members and passengers on the Boeing 777-200ER plane which left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur at 12.15pm local time (6.15pm Malaysian time).
There was also a page set up on Facebook for netizens to post information on the plane and those on board.
Friends and family members of those on board wrote on their FB walls conveying prayers and condolences.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he had instructed the military to get confirmation on the fate of Flight MH17 which was reportedly shot down over the Ukraine.
In a series of tweets, he said he was in touch with the Transport Ministry in order to verify the information and urged people not to speculate.
“No confirmation it was shot down! Our military have been instructed 2 get on it,” he said in response to a tweet saying that the plane had been shot down by rebel forces.
“I am also in touch with MoT (Ministry of Transport),” he tweeted several minutes later.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai tweeted that he had received news on the plane crash and would provide more details once he get them from the authorities.
“I have received news on MH17. We are still investigating & will provide more details once we have them,” he tweeted from Beijing.