The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Obama calls downed Ukraine jet 'terrible tragedy,' US working to see if Americans on board

  • Print

WILMINGTON, Del. - President Barack Obama said Thursday that the passenger plane downed over Ukraine "looks like it may be a terrible tragedy" and his top priority is finding out whether American citizens were on board.

Obama said he's directed his aides to stay in close contact with Ukrainian officials and offer U.S. help to determine what caused the crash. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 295 people an act of terrorism.

An Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the crash site about 25 miles (40 kilometres) from the Russian border, where government and pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting.

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 metres) when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.

Obama press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama was on a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin when news of the downed plane broke. Earnest and the Kremlin said Putin mentioned those early reports in the call, but provided no details of what the two leaders said about it.

"The world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border," Obama said later as he took the stage for a speech in Delaware to discuss transportation funding. "It looks like it might be a terrible tragedy. Right now we're working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority."

The rest of the phone call between Obama and Putin was dedicated to the general situation in eastern Ukraine, and recent U.S. sanctions against Russian individuals and companies.

The Federal Aviation Administration had warned U.S. pilots earlier this year not to fly over portions of the Ukraine in the Crimea region, according to notices posted on the agency's website.

The notices were posted on April 23. The U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization and the aviation authorities in most countries issue similar notices for areas where unrest or military conflict creates a risk of being shot down.

The FAA had not issued any new warnings Thursday afternoon in the immediate aftermath of reports that a Malaysian airliner had been shot down over the Ukraine.

___

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Premier, Mayor comment on CMHR opening

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support Canada's involvement in the fight against Islamic State?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google