Obama: One American killed in MH 17 disaster
President Barack Obama said in a statement Friday that one American died in the Malaysia airliner crash in Ukraine yesterday. He also said all evidence indicates a surface-to-air missile shot the passenger jet down.
The president identified Quinn Lucas Schansman as the only American victim identified "at this point" by U.S. officials. Schansman was a dual citizen of the United States and the Netherlands.
The president called it a global tragedy in remarks from the White House, one day after Malaysia Airline Flight 17 crashed. He is calling for a credible international investigation
The plane was shot down near the border between Ukraine and Russia. The incident occurred one day after Obama announced broader economic sanctions against Russia for its threatening moves in Ukraine.Meantime, international investigators are hoping to begin their search for the cause of the crash in war-torn eastern Ukraine.
U.S. intelligence officials say Malaysian Airlines flight 17, a Boeing 777 seven carrying almost 300 people was brought down by a surface-to-air missile.
The crash site is said to cover nearly ten miles, and it's in disputed territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists, who say they had nothing to do with the crash.
The United States has volunteered the services of the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI.
Ukraine's separatist rebels say they have found "most" of the recording devices from the downed airliner. An assistant to the insurgency's military commander, Igor Girkin, says eight out of the plane's 12 recording devices have been located.
He says Girkin is still considering whether to give international crash investigators access to the sprawling crash site. Any investigators would need specific permission from the rebel leadership before they could safely film or take photos at the scene.
The Malaysian government says it will send 62 people to investigate the sprawling crash site.
"We got assurance from the Minister of Foreign Affairs," said Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysian transport minister.
The crash site is a crime scene, controlled by the people many consider to be the prime suspects. U.S. Intelligence officials believe they already know the cause of the crash that claimed nearly three hundred souls: an American satellite reportedly picked up the launch of a surface-to-air missile. Similar devices have been spotted in pro-Russian eastern Ukraine.
"Most likely it was the one of the separatists. Don't forget they just shot down a Ukrainian plane," said Lawrence Korb, former assistant Secretary of Defense.
Russia was just hit with a new round of sanctions over Ukraine, but this crash threatens to push the crisis to a new level. At a meeting Friday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin shifted the blame to Ukraine.
"This tragedy would not have occurred," he said, "if there was peace in that land."
The White House is calling on the Russian government to support a cease-fire. President Obama will make a statement Friday morning.
A Dutch doctoral student at Indiana University was among the victims. Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was from Amsterdam. She was a doctoral student in the university's chemistry department and also earned her master's degree at IU. She was on the rowing team during the 2011 season.
Also, officials say several world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board. One of those was the former president of the International AIDS Society, Joep Lange, a well-known HIV researcher from the Netherlands.
Also among the dead is Glenn Thomas, the World Health Organization's Geneva-based spokesman.
Flags are flying half-staff across the Netherlands as the country mourns at least 154 of its citizens who died in the crash.
Grieving relatives of the victims were gathering in a hotel at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport early today.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte called for a fully independent investigation into the crash Thursday that killed 298 passengers and crew, the majority of them Dutch.
Rutte says "the next of kin of the 154 Dutch victims and all the other nationalities have the right to know what happened."