Resources for Journalists Covering Malaysian Air MH17

Poynter is assembling a Twitter list of journalists who are on the ground or near the crash site of the Malaysia Airline jet. These contacts may be especially useful to those of you who want to get permission to use images and get information directly from journalists on the scene.

FlightRadar24 is a website that provides global flight tracking. The site provides this data showing where the Malaysia Air jet was last seen on radar.

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Recent Hostility
If it turns out that the Malaysian Air jet was shot from the sky, it would not be the first in flight hostility over Ukraine skies even this week.

Earlier Thursday, the New York Times reported that “a Russian military plane had shot down a Ukrainian fighter jet in Ukrainian airspace the previous evening (Wednesday.)”  And, as the Times reported, “On Wednesday, President Obama announced additional economic sanctions to penalize Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis.”

Saturday, “Separatists” reportedly shot down a Ukrainian armed forces military transport Il-76 military transport plane in Ukraine. Senator John McCain said the word “separatists” is difficult to define since they could include people loosely associated with Russia including former KGB agents. The Saturday shooting killed 49 people including 40 paratroopers. Pravda included video of what was reported to be that shoot down, at the 51:17 on the video.   This video could turn out to be critically important, as theories arise that the civilian airliner may have been mistaken as a military aircraft somehow.  The Malaysian civilian jet was flying at high altitude, the military jet shot down Saturday was landing and was reportedly hit with a shoulder-fired missile.

The Suspected Missile System
This is missile system that Ukrainian officials guess may have been used to “shot down” the Malaysia Air jet. It is called the “Buk missile system” and can hit targets up to 72,000 feet in the air.

The Associated Press reported seeing the weapon — which resembles a launcher mounted on top of a tank — in the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday. Two weeks ago, an AP photographer captured a photo of a Buk system in the region.

Here is more quick background on the crisis in Ukraine from BBC.

Here is a timeline on the crisis in Ukraine.

Here is RT (Russian Television) coverage of the story. It includes photos and videos not seen elsewhere, here’s a video of bodies, passports and personal items scattered around the site of the downed jet.

CNN and many others are airing this video of a fireball reported to be Malaysia Air flight.

One source of photos you are seeing everywhere is Russian blogger http://zyalt.livejournal.com/

This is the source for the video of the smoke plume that CNN and others say is the scene of the downed airliner.  These are the still photos that various news agencies say they have confirmed as pieces of the downed plane. The photos are listed on a twitter site @mateuznovak, which lists the source as, “travel guide, traveller, photographer, former solider/Lieutenant Slovenia”

Malaysian Airlines website: http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/us/en.html

There is, at this moment, no reason to believe this incident is related to the missing Malaysian aircraft flight MH370.  That flight was going from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. 

How do surface-to-air missiles work? Here is a glossary and easy-to-use guide.

Only as an aside, AirDisaster.com points out:

18 years ago today, on July 17, 1996, a TWA Boeing 747-131 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off East Moriches, New York after exploding in-flight. All 230 passengers and crew aboard were killed.

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