Malaysian Airlines MH17 never strayed into restricted airspace: Malaysian minister

Kuala Lumpur, Jul 19: Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said on Saturday that the flight path of the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was set out by the international aviation authorities, approved by Eurocontrol and used by other airlines.

“It flew at an altitude set, and deemed safe, by the local air traffic control. And it never strayed into restricted airspace,” the minister told a press conference. He called for all parties to protect the integrity of the crash site and to allow the investigation to proceed, Xinhua reported.

“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,” said the official.

Flight MH17, a Boeing 777, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed on Thursday afternoon in the conflict-hit Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

Liow said Malaysia’s task force arrived in Ukraine’s capital Kiev earlier on Saturday, and he, joined by the director of general of the Department of Civil Aviation, the Malaysian investigator in charge, and the chairman of Malaysia Airlines, would go to Kiev as well.

“The CEO of Malaysia Airlines is already in Kiev,” he said. The minister said it appeared that MH17 was shot down and its passengers and crew were killed by a missile. Liow also said Malaysia Airlines would release the full passenger manifest after the press conference.

When asked by Xinhua about the measures to be taken to ensure the investigation was fair and objective, Liow said the Malaysian authorities had asked for the setting up of an independent investigation team and two Malaysian experts had been sent to assist the ongoing probe work.