Sunday 20 July 2014

Civilian airliners shot down by the military

From their frantic attempts to conceal and remove evidence from the crash site, it now seems clear that it was pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine who shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, killing all 298 people aboard the Boeing 777. What is not yet clear is how deep was the involvement of President Putin of Russia.

In 1983, a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 en route from Alaska to Seoul in south Korea was shot down by a Soviet fighter close to Sakhalin Island. All 269 people on board died. The aircraft had been passing through forbidden Soviet air space around the time of a US reconnaissance mission.

At first the Soviet Union denied shooting down the aircraft, then later admitted it, claiming the jumbo was on a spying mission. It took many years and the collapse of the Soviet regime before the flight data recorders were released.

In 1988, a US warship shot down an Iran Air Airbus A-300 over the Straits of Hormuz, killing all 290 people on board, in the apparent belief that it was an Iranian warplane. The US denied responsibility for the act, but in 1996, it paid more than $130m in compensation after Iran took a case to the International Court of Justice.

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