Malaysia Airlines releases nationalities of plane crash victims

Malaysian officials said Friday that the passengers identified from its plane that was shot down over Ukraine were from 10 nations so far.

The flight, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, crashed on Thursday during a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in an apparent act of terrorism. The plane, which was a Boeing 777, was carrying nearly 300 people. 

Malaysia Airlines said Friday that 189 of the deceased passengers were from the Netherlands, followed by 44 from Malaysia and 27 from Australia. 

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Twelve passengers were from Indonesia and nine were from the United Kingdom, airline officials said. An additional four passengers were from Belgium and four from Germany, while three were from the Philippines. 

Malaysia Airlines said there were also one passenger each on board the shot-down plane from Canada and New Zealand. 

The airline said four passengers’ nationalities “remain to be verified.” 

U.S. officials have said that they are working to confirm whether there were any American passengers on the flight. 

Ukrainian officials alleged on Thursday that the flight was shot down by Russian separatists who have been battling Kiev in a dispute over the country's shared border with Russia.

Vice President Biden also suggested the plane was intentional "blown out of the sky" during a speech on Thursday afternoon.

Malaysia Airlines officials said that the flight's path was cleared before its take-off. 

“MH17’s flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, who are solely responsible for determining civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace,” the airline said in a statement. 

“The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights,” the company continued. “A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before. Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine.” 

The Federal Aviation Administration and other international aviation agencies had warned airlines about flying over the disputed area of Ukraine in Crimea in April. 

Malaysia Airlines said empathically that its shot-down plane was not in the restricted airspace. 

“In April, the International Civil Aviation Organization identified an area over the Crimean peninsula as risky,” the airline said. “At no point did MH17 fly into, or request to fly into, this area. At all times, MH17 was in airspace approved by the [International Civil Aviation Organization].”