37 Australians among 298 killed on MH17 crash in Ukraine
Thirt were aboard a Malaysia Airlines plane shot down by a missile fired by Russian-based rebels in Ukraine, killing all 298 on board.
Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel chief suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane.
“As this stands this looks less like an accident than a crime,” Tony Abbott told parliament, adding the Boeing 777 appeared to have been brought down by Russian-backed rebels.
“And if so the perpetrators must be brought to justice.’’
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten added: “This is a violation of the rules of civilisation.”
Confirming 28 Australians and delegates heading for a Melbourne AIDS conference were among the dead, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia demanded a full, independent inquiry into the crash and Australian officials would seek access to the crash site.
The Boeing 777-200ER, travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur but carrying Australian-borne passengers, appeared to have broken up before impact and the burning wreckage was scattered over a wide area.
Malaysia said the plane had made no distress call.
American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile took down the passenger jet.
Dutch authorities have confirmed 28 Australians were on board a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that was shot down by a ground-to-air missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it disappeared from radar screens.
US vice-president Joe Biden says the downing of the jet apparently was "not an accident" and that the passenger jet was "blown out of the sky".
The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels have denied shooting down the plane. An humanitarian corridore has been agreed by both Russia and the Ukraine to allow investigations to commence.