Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200ER registered 9M-MRD enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed today 30km from Tamak waypoint, about 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border. There were 280 passengers and 15 crew on board.

The aircraft was cruising at Flight Level 330 and at a speed of 476 knots. It left Amsterdam at 1215 and was due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 0600 local time on Friday. This is the fifth Boeing 777 hull loss, following the March disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which was the fourth. Other hull losses were the Asiana Airlines crash on landing at San Francisco, a British Airways 777-200ER also lost on landing in 2008, and an EgyptAir 777-200ER which suffered a cockpit fire in Cairo in 2011.

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There has been intense fighting in the region between the Ukrainian military and separatists since Russia annexed Crimea in the spring. Reports from the Ukranian Interior Minister have indicated the aircraft may have been shot down, but have not been confirmed by outside sources. 

Responding to an Aviation Week enquiry, the U.S. Department of Defense neither confirmed nor denied whether its sensors were able to capture the alleged shoot down. Such a missile would likely be visible from orbiting infrared satellites designed to scan for ballistic missiles as well as radars, if they are located in the right place.

Pilots have been advised by Eurocontrol to avoid the region, and flights already airborne are being routed around the area by air traffic control in the region.

Malaysia Airlines lost Flight MH370 on March 8. That aircraft has yet to be found and the reason for its disappearance has not been determined.