Pinay ma, 2 children among MH17 victims

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Friday, July 18, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Friday that three Filipinos -- a mother, her son, and daughter -- were among the 298 passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down in Ukraine on Thursday.

The DFA identified the Filipino victims as Irene Gunawan, 54; Sherryl Shania Gunawan, 20; and Darryl Dwight Gunawan, 15.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the residential address the Gunawans indicated in their passport application was in the Netherlands.

Flight 17, which was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew, was shot down Thursday (Friday in Manila). Among the passengers were three infants.

Below is a breakdown of the nationalities of those on board:

Netherlands: 154
Malaysia: 43 (including 15 crew and two infants)
Australia: 27
Indonesia: 12 (including one infant)
United Kingdom: 9
Germany: 4
Belgium: 4
Philippines: 3
Canada: 1
Unconfirmed nationalities: 41

The jetliner did not make any distress call, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body.

Crash Site
Smoke rises up at a crash site of a passenger plane, near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014.

Najib said the aircraft flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The International Air Transportation Association had also stated that the air space that the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions, added Najib.

Hours after the disaster, Malaysia Airlines announced all European flights will henceforth take an alternative route.

Najib said the Ukrainian government has promised a full and thorough investigation, which will include Malaysian officials. He said they will also negotiate with rebels to "establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site."

The United States, meanwhile, began building a case Friday that would pin the blame for the downing of the passenger jet over Ukraine on separatist forces supported by Russia.

President Barack Obama said evidence so far indicates that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

He noted it wasn't the first time the separatists had shot down planes in the region, adding that a "steady flow of support from Russia" had included heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weapons.

He called for an immediate ceasefire to allow for a full investigation.

"This was a global tragedy," Obama said. "An Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies filled with citizens from many countries, so there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened."

Officials from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to Ukraine to help determine what happened, Obama said. He warned that evidence must not be tampered with as a United Nations-backed investigation goes forward, and he said, "We will hold all its members, including Russia, to their word" in allowing access to the crash.

"This should snap everybody's heads to attention," Obama said.

US UN Ambassador Samantha Power, in an extraordinary speech at the United Nations, said the US could not rule out that Russian personnel had assisted separatists in firing a missile at the plane carrying 298 people.

"Russia can end this war," Power said. "Russia must end this war."

The US National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a single investigator to Ukraine as part of a US delegation to assist with the investigation. Other agencies, including the FBI and FAA, were also expected to send representatives.

The White House has taken the lead in forming the delegation, according to a US official familiar with the effort. A command center has been set up at the State Department, where officials from agencies participating in the delegation gathered Friday morning for a briefing from the CIA on the political and military situation in Ukraine, the official said.

A second US official said all available evidence, including satellite imagery, pointed to the plane being shot down by an SA-11 anti-aircraft missile fired from eastern Ukraine by Ukrainian separatist forces.

The US detected three discrete events associated with the shootdown, the official said: the launching of the missile from the Ukraine side of the border, the missile's impact with the plane, and the plane slamming into the ground.

Both officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss US intelligence matters publicly by name.

The incident Thursday was the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines this year. Its Flight 370 disappeared March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The aircraft has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

"This is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia," Najib said.

In both tragedies, the planes were the wide-bodied Boeing 777-200. (PNA/AP/Sunnex)

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