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Crikey says: hard questions on this terrible day

Ben Sandilands on MH17: why was a commercial jet flying over a war zone? Malaysia Airlines failed in duty of care, but others took similar route. More Australians dead than September 11. PLUS: Rundle goes gonzo in Canberra as Parliament parties for winter break. Keane on big banks gone bad. Brandis’ security slip-up. Abbott Speedo-watch. A gerrymander to make Sir Joh proud. And Palmer still riding high in the polls.

Almost 300 people died when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot out of the sky by a missile over Ukraine yesterday afternoon local time, likely by pro-Russian separatists.

As there were at least 27 Australians on board, some of our readers will no doubt be affected by this tragedy, which, as Cathy Alexander and Paul Millar report today, comes second only to the Bali bombings in terms of Australian lives lost in a terrorist attack. It’s also our worst air disaster since 1960. And the number of Australians killed in the crash may rise over the coming days as authorities identify the victims.

Crikey’s resident aviation expert, Ben Sandilands, has been live-blogging the news as it comes to hand (with a short interruption when our site crashed earlier today — our apologies for that).

What was a civilian airliner doing flying over an active war zone where other planes have been shot down recently? It turns out MH17 wasn’t the only commercial plane in that airspace. As Sandilands reports today, two very lucky Singapore Airlines jets took a similar route. Did these airlines choose fuel economy over safety?

It’s been reported that many of the passengers on the flight were medical and scientific experts due to make a connection to Melbourne, where they were to attend the International AIDS Conference. We are saddened to hear these researchers were among the dead. Crikey’s thoughts go out to all the families, colleagues and friends affected by this disaster.

4
  • 1
    paddy
    Posted Friday, 18 July 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s a hard news day Crikey and your coverage of most of the issues is very good. Kudos.
    But not *one* mention of a full scale invasion of Gaza by the Israeli army seems a pretty big oversight.

  • 2
    CML
    Posted Friday, 18 July 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Since when did people defending their small part of the world - the pro-Russian majority population in eastern Ukraine - from the faci*ts in Keiv, suddenly become ‘terrorists’?
    If they are indeed responsible for this plane crash, it is more likely to be a case of mistaken identity rather than a terrorist attack.

  • 3
    AR
    Posted Friday, 18 July 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    State, or terrorist, annihilation of innocents is in the eye of the recipient.
    Not to do the wottaboutery of, just say, the US Navy blowing a similarly sized aircraft full of Mecca bound Iranians because they couldn’t see that it wasn’t a fighter.
    With all their hi-tek military toys.
    Will this turn out to be a bunch of vodka fuelled loud mouths?
    Will 7 become, for some Asians, the new 8, with KL007, MHs 370 & 17>

  • 4
    stuart richardson
    Posted Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Seriously? On what basis can you write that the missile was fired ‘likely by Russian separatists’?
    There are no conclusive facts available; ergo, crikey is no better a source of actual news than News Corp et al. Does crikey answer questions about the quality of its journalism?

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