Latest Media Statements From Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia Prime Minister About MH17

Najib Razak — the prime minister of Malaysia — updated the international press and media earlier today with an official statement on the crash of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur earlier today.

The full text of his statement — released on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 4:15 in the morning Standard Greenwich Time +0800 — is as follows:

“Yesterday evening, I was informed of the terrible and deeply shocking news that a Malaysia Airlines jet went down in eastern Ukraine.

“Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the jet was Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

“The flight departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm, local time. It was scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 6.10 am, local, Malaysian time.

“The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200.

“The aircraft’s flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

“And International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.

“Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the aircraft did not make a distress call.

“The flight was carrying a total number of 295 people – comprising 280 passengers and 15 crew members.

“Malaysia Airlines is in the process of notifying the next-of-kin of the passengers and crew. All possible care will be provided to the next-of-kin.

“The Government of Malaysia is dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as a medical team.

“According to information provided by Kiev Air Traffic Control, the location of the plane’s emergency locator beacon is 48 degrees 7 minutes and 23 seconds North; and 38 degrees 31 minutes and 33 seconds East.

“The Ukrainian authorities believe that the plane was shot down.

“At this early stage, however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy.

“But we must – and we will – find out precisely what happened to this flight.

“No stone can be left unturned.

“If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.

“Emergency operations centres have been established. In the last few hours, Malaysian officials have been in constant contact with their counterparts in Ukraine and elsewhere.

“And I will be speaking to a number of world leaders over the coming hours.

“I have had several conversations with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

“I have also spoken to the President of Ukraine. He has pledged that there will be a full, thorough and independent investigation, and Malaysian officials will be invited to take part.

“The Ukrainian president also confirmed that his government will negotiate with rebels in the east of the country, in order to establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site.

“Just now, I received a call from President Obama.

“He and I both agreed that the investigation must not be hindered in anyway.

“An international team must have full access to the crash site.

“And no one should interfere with the area, or move any debris, including the black box.

“This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year, for Malaysia.

“As we work to understand what happened, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those onboard the flight.

“I cannot imagine what they must be going through at this painful time.

“The flight’s passengers and crew came from many different countries.

“But today, regardless of nationality, we are all united in grief.”

A statement known as Media Statement 1 was released from Malaysia Airlines on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 12:30 in the morning Standard Greenwich Time +0800:

“Malaysia Airlines confirms it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT) at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.

“Flight MH17 operated on a Boeing 777 departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm (Amsterdam local time) and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 am (Malaysia local time) the next day.

“The flight was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew onboard.

“More details to follow.”

…and here is Media Statement 2, released from Malaysia Airlines on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 7:30 in the morning Standard Greenwich Time +0800:

“With immediate effect, all European flights operated by Malaysia Airlines will be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route.

“Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur went down in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines confirms that the aircraft did not make a distress call.

“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.

“As opposed to the earlier statement, the flight was carrying a total number of 298 people – comprising 283 passengers including three infants of various nationalities and 15 crew of Malaysian nationality. Some of the nationalities of the passengers are yet to be determined.

“List of number of passengers and crew according to nationality are as follows:-

NATIONALITY TOTAL
Netherlands 154
Malaysia 45 (including 15 crew & 2 infants)
Australia 27
Indonesia 12 (including 1 infant)
United Kingdom 9
Germany 4
Belgium 4
Philippines 3
Canada 1
Unverified 41
Total 298

 

Malaysia Airlines is in the process of notifying the next-of-kin of the passengers and crew.

“Our focus now is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support 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 the 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.

“Families of passengers and crew may contact +603 7884 1234 (Malaysia) or +31703487770(Netherlands).

“For media queries, kindly contact +603 8777 5698/ +603 8787 1276.

“Please also log on to www.malaysiaairlines.com for updates.”

Media Statement 3 — released from Malaysia Airlines on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 1:30 in the afternoon Standard Greenwich Time +0800 — reads as follows:

“The B777-200 aircraft bearing registration no. 9M-MRD that operated MH17 on 17 July, 2014 had a clean maintenance record. The aircraft’s last maintenance check was on 11 July 2014. The next check was due on 27 Aug 2014. The maintenance was conducted at Malaysia Airlines’ hangar at KLIA. The aircraft had a clean bill of health.

“The aircraft was manufactured in July 1997, and so had 17 years in service.

“The aircraft had recorded 75322 hours with a total of 11434 cycles.

“All communication system on the aircraft were functioning normally.

“The B777-200 uses the Rolls-Royce Trent-800 engine and has a 282 seat capacity.”

Media Statement 4 — released from Malaysia Airlines on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 8:20 in the evening Standard Greenwich Time +0800 — reads as follows:

1.    Flight plan

“MH17’s flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, who are solely responsible for determining civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace. Eurocontrol is the air navigation service provider for Europe and is governed under ICAO rules.

“The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before. Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine.

“In April, the International Civil Aviation Organization identified an area over the Crimean peninsula as risky. At no point did MH17 fly into, or request to fly into, this area. At all times, MH17 was in airspace approved by the ICAO.

2.    Altitude

“MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the ‘optimum’ altitude.

“However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft.

3.    Nationalities

“Following this afternoon’s press conference, Malaysia Airlines can confirm that a further 16 passengers’ nationalities have been verified. The latest breakdown of nationalities of those on board the flight is as follows:

  • 189 Netherlands
  • 44 Malaysia
  • 27 Australia
  • 12 Indonensia
  • 9 UK
  • 4 Belgium
  • 4 Germany
  • 3 Philippines
  • 1 Canada
  • 1 New Zealand

“Four passengers’ nationalities remain to be verified.

4.    New flight route

“Following this incident, Malaysia Airlines now avoids Ukrainian airspace entirely, flying further south over Turkey.”

Media Statement 5 — released from Malaysia Airlines on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 10:00 in the morning Standard Greenwich Time +0800 — reads as follows:

“In light of the MH17 incident, Malaysia Airlines will be waiving any change fees for passengers who wish to make changes to their itinerary to any MH destinations.

“Passengers who wish to postpone or cancel their travel plans can obtain a refund, including for non refundable tickets.

“Our Enrich passengers will also receive fee waivers for any changes to their travel itinerary,  as well as refunds of miles should they choose to cancel their redemption tickets.

“These waivers are only applicable from 18 July 2014 until 24 July 2014, for travel between 18 July 2014 until 31 Dec 2014.

“Passengers who wish to make changes to their travel plans may contact the nearest Malaysia Airlines ticketing office, or call our global Call Center at 1-300-88-3000.

“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets the loss of MH17, and is very much appreciative of the support from our passengers.”

Media Statement 6 — released from Malaysia Airlines on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 11:40 in the morning Standard Greenwich Time +0800 — reads as follows:

“The below table shows the latest number of passengers and their nationalities of those on-board MH17, as of 19 July 2014:-

NATIONALITY TOTAL
Netherlands 192 (including 1 dual Netherlands/USA citizen)
Malaysia 44 (including 15 crew & 2 infants)
Australia 27
Indonesia 12 (including 1 infant)
United Kingdom 10 (including 1 dual UK/S. Africa citizen)
Germany 4
Belgium 4
Philippines 3
Canada 1
New Zealand 1
Total 298

“Malaysia Airlines is working closely with the respective embassies to notify the next-of-kin of the passengers.

“Our focus now is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support to provide all possible care to the next-of-kin.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.

“The airline will provide regular updates on the situation.

“Families of passengers and crew may contact +603 7884 1234 (Malaysia) or +31703487770 (Netherlands).

“For media queries, kindly contact +603 8777 5698/ +603 8787 1276.”

A press briefing By Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Transport was released from Malaysia Airlines on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 7:20 in the evening Standard Greenwich Time +0800 — reads as follows:

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

“Today Malaysia Airlines have released the final list of nationalities on board flight MH17. Each of the numbers represents a life lost, and a family in anguish. After this press conference, Malaysia Airlines will release the full passenger manifest.

“Malaysia mourns the loss of all 298 passengers and crew. We feel for their families. And we promise to do all we can to ensure that the investigation is completed, and that justice is done.

ON THE INVESTIGATION:

“Malaysia is deeply concerned that the crash site has not been properly secured. The  integrity of the site has been compromised, and there are indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place.

“Interfering with the scene of the crash risks undermining the investigation itself. Any actions that prevent us from learning the truth about what happened to MH17 cannot be tolerated. Failure to stop such interference would be a betrayal of the lives that were lost.

“Malaysia calls for all parties to protect the integrity of the crash site, and to allow the investigation to proceed. We urge all those involved to respect the families, and the nations who have lost their sons and daughters in this attack.

“Yes, MH17 has become a geopolitical issue. But we must not forget that it is a human tragedy. Days after the plane went down, the remains of 298 people lie uncovered.

“Citizens of eleven nations – none of whom are involved in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine –cannot be laid to rest. Their lives were taken by violence; now violence stops them being accorded their final respect. This cannot continue.

ON DEPLOYMENT:

“Earlier today, Malaysia’s special team arrived in Kiev. We ask for continued support from the Ukrainian government, and the other parties involved, as the team seeks to assist the Ukrainian authorities in recovering and identifying the remains of the passengers and crew, and with the wider investigation.

“The world has a moral obligation to ensure that the remains of all victims are recovered and treated with respect. We will play our part in fulfilling this obligation. That is why, later today, I will join the Malaysian team in Kiev, where I will work with my counterpart in the Ukraine government, to support efforts to retrieve the remains, and to assist with the investigation.

“I will be joined by the Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation, the Malaysian investigator in charge, and the Chairman of Malaysia Airlines. The CEO of Malaysia Airlines is already in Kiev.

ON THE FLIGHT PATH:

“On the matter of MH17’s flight path, I would like to refer to recent reported comments by officials from Eurocontrol, the body which approves European flight paths under ICAO rules.

“According to the Wall Street Journal, the officials stated that some 400 commercial flights, including 150 international flights crossed eastern Ukraine daily before the crash. Officials from Eurocontrol also stated that in the two days before the incident, 75 different airlines flew the same route as MH17.

“MH17’s flight path was a busy major airway, like a highway in the sky. It followed a route which was set out by the international aviation authorities, approved by Eurocontrol, and used by hundreds of other aircraft. It flew at an altitude set, and deemed safe, by the local air traffic control. And it never strayed into restricted airspace.

“The flight and its operators followed the rules. But on the ground, the rules of war were broken. In an unacceptable act of aggression, it appears that MH17 was shot down; its passengers and crew killed by a missile.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

“This outrage cannot go unpunished. Once again, Malaysia condemns this brutal act of aggression, and calls for those responsible to be found, and to face the full force of justice without delay.”

Media Statement 7 — released from Malaysia Airlines on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 7:30 in the evening Standard Greenwich Time +0800 — reads as follows:

“Malaysia Airlines is appealing to the family members or friends of those onboard MH17 to contact the airline. Enclosed is the MH17 passenger manifest for reference.

In the past 45 hours, the airline together with various foreign embassies have made every effort to establish contact with the next-of-kin but is still unable to identify many more family members.

They are advised to contact Malaysia Airlines’ Family Support Centre at +603 7884 1234 (in Malaysia).

Alternatively the family or friends may call the numbers below in their respective countries:

Netherlands (Malaysia Airlines Amsterdam office)     +31 20 521 62 62

Australia (Malaysia Airlines Sydney office)                +61 2 9364 3526

Indonesia (Malaysia Airlines Jakarta office)              +62 2 1522 9705

New Zealand (Malaysia Airlines Auckland office)     +64 9 306 3930

United Kingdom (Malaysia Airlines London office)    +44 20 7341 2060

Germany (Malaysia Airlines Frankfurt office)            +49 69 1387 1980

Philippines (Malaysia Airlines Manila office)              + 63 2 889 1863

As of 19 July 2014, 5:00pm, the table below shows the latest number of passengers and their nationalities:-

NATIONALITY TOTAL
Netherlands 193 (including 1 dual Netherlands/USA citizen)
Malaysia 43 (including 15 crew & 2 infants)
Australia 27
Indonesia 12 (including 1 infant)
United Kingdom 10 (including 1 dual UK/S. Africa citizen)
Germany 4
Belgium 4
Philippines 3
Canada 1
New Zealand 1
Total 298

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines deployed a ferry flight last night mobilizing 212 personnel from various government and media bodies and its staff to Kiev and Amsterdam in a special mission for MH17. A total of 85 Malaysia Airlines’ ‘Go Team’ members have been deployed, of which five members will join Malaysia’s Special Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) in the search-and-recovery mission at the crash site in the Donetsk region, while 80 other members comprising care givers and the management team will be stationed in Amsterdam to assist the family members of the passengers.

MH5002 departed Kuala Lumpur at 9.54pm on 18 July 2014 and arrived in Kiev at 3.58am (local time) on 19 July 2014 with a two hour transit. The aircraft then continued its journey to Amsterdam at 5.50am (local time) on 19 July 2014 and arrived in Schipol Amsterdam Airport at 7.36am the same day.

The mission is also joined by Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport, the National Security Council, Special Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart), Malaysia’s Department of Information, the Royal Malaysian Police, Malaysian Special Air Service, the Royal Malaysian Air Force, Malaysian Armed Forces, Department of Civil Aviation, Chemistry Department, Department of Islamic Advancement of Malaysia and the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team as well as participating media.

Finally, Malaysia Airlines requests the cooperation of members of the media to respect the privacy of the grieving families. The airline’s top priority remains to provide care and assistance to the families of the passengers and crew and any information with regards to their movement will not be made public.”

 

Media Statement 8 — released from Malaysia Airlines on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 4:30 in the afternoon Standard Greenwich Time +0800 — reads as follows:

“In light of the recent incident, Malaysia Airlines’ Amsterdam (AMS) – Kuala Lumpur (KUL) service, MH17 flight number will be retired out of respect for our crew and passengers of the mentioned flight code. This will take into effect on25 July 2014.

“There are no changes to the frequency of our services and we will continue to operate daily services between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.

“The new flight number replacing MH17 will be:

“MH19 – AMS/KUL

“Our thoughts and prayers remains with the families of our colleagues and passengers of MH 17.”

 

A full investigation was launched by the government of Ukraine and is currently under way. In the meantime, the flights of a number of airlines worldwide are avoiding the airspace above Ukraine and eastern Ukraine.

The posting of these media statements here at The Gate are meant to have a record of the latest information to be accessed at a later date when the original media statements may no longer be available.

More updates and official statements are expected to be released at the official Internet web site of Malaysia Airlines as further details of this story unfold…

…but in the meantime, my thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues who lost their loved ones in this senseless tragedy…

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