CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Friday, July 18, 2014

The summer of super moons arrives!

 

 

 

  An Air France flight against the moon  as it climbs away from Logan International airport in Boston, Massachusetts Doomed: Flight MH17 takes off from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam hours before it was shot down over Ukraine

THE SUMMER OF SUPERMOONS ARRIVES
   

 

   

The summer of supermoons arrives!

 

Stunning sights across the world as lunar surface appears bigger and brighter than usual

  • Phenomenon happens when the moon is 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the farthest point in its orbit
  • It is just an optical illusion caused by its position in the sky and occurs three times this year
  • There will also be another 'supermoon' on August 10 and a third on September 9

Last night was an astronomical phenomenon that may have completely passed you by.

If you looked up at the sky you would have seen a perigree moon, more commonly known as a supermoon.

It happens when the moon is 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the farthest point in its orbit and the moon looks bigger and brighter.

The supermoon rises over houses in Olvera, in the southern Spanish province of Cadiz

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The supermoon rises over houses in Olvera, in the southern Spanish province of Cadiz

Looming lunar: The supermoon captured over Kansas in the Midwestern U.S.

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Looming lunar: The supermoon captured over Kansas in the Midwestern U.S.

Glorious: The moon over the Oregon Convention Center in Portland

Glorious: The moon over the Oregon Convention Center in Portland

 

Silhouette: the castle of Somoskoujfalu, 123 kms northeast of Budapest, Hungary   A young girl plays on the sand in front of the perigee moon, at Nauset Beach in the town of Orleans, Massachusetts    

Silhouette: The castle of Somoskoujfalu (left), 123 kms northeast of Budapest, Hungary. Right, a young girl plays on the sand at Nauset Beach in the town of Orleans, Massachusetts

A supermoon, is seen on the top of a traditional Ramadan lantern that decorated downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. Ramadan began on June 29 and ends on July 28 when Muslims celebrate Eid

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A supermoon, is seen on the top of a traditional Ramadan lantern that decorated downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. Ramadan began on June 29 and ends on July 28 when Muslims celebrate Eid

The waxing gibbous moon is viewed from Whittier, California. The supermoon happens when the moon is 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the farthest point in its orbit

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The waxing gibbous moon is viewed from Whittier, California. The supermoon happens when the moon is 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the farthest point in its orbit

In fact, it is just an optical illusion caused by its position in the sky.

It is not that uncommon. Last year we had three although only one made the news. This year we will also have three supermoons with the next occurring on August 10 and then on September 9.

The perige moon as seen during a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers at the Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

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The perige moon as seen during a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers at the Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Light show: Traffic streaks by the supermoon as it rises behind the Memorial Bridge in Washington

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Light show: Traffic streaks by the supermoon as it rises behind the Memorial Bridge in Washington

Music of the spheres: The supermoon rises behind the historic Mount Wilson Observatory at Mount Wilson in the Angeles National Forest northeast of Los Angeles, California

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Music of the spheres: The supermoon rises behind the historic Mount Wilson Observatory at Mount Wilson in the Angeles National Forest northeast of Los Angeles, California

An Air France flight against the moon  as it climbs away from Logan International airport in Boston, Massachusetts

 

An Air France flight against the moon as it climbs away from Logan International airport in Boston, Massachusetts

High above: The Rideau Canal in the Canadian capital of Ottawa

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High above: The Rideau Canal in the Canadian capital of Ottawa

Nature's glory: A palm tree is silhouetted against a supermoon in Whittier, California

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Nature's glory: A palm tree is silhouetted against a supermoon in Whittier, California

Futuristic: The supermoon moves accross the sky behind the neon green lights of the Bank of America Tower in downtown Dallas

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Futuristic: The supermoon moves accross the sky behind the neon green lights of the Bank of America Tower in downtown Dallas

 

  The moon beneath the American flag at Kauffman Stadium during a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers   A supermoon rises behind fans during a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium  

 

The moon beneath the American flag at Kauffman Stadium during a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers and right, behind fans during a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium in LA

A supermoon looks over a crescent of a minaret of the grand Faisal mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan

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A supermoon looks over a crescent of a minaret of the grand Faisal mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan

A perigee moon rises behind a tree in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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A perigee moon rises behind a tree in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Another look at the moon through a crescent of the dome of the grand Faisal mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan

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Another look at the moon through a crescent of the dome of the grand Faisal mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan

The full moon is partly covered by clouds in Nairobi, Kenya

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The full moon is partly covered by clouds in Nairobi, Kenya

People look at a supermoon, rising above Dojran Lake in southeastern Macedonia

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People look at a supermoon, rising above Dojran Lake in southeastern Macedonia

It is the one in August that moon fans are really looking forward to with glee and anticipation. The moon will be 863 miles closer than last night’s.

Geoff Chester at the US Naval Observatory said: ‘I guarantee that some folks will think it's the biggest Moon they've ever seen if they catch it rising over a distant horizon, because the media will have told them to pay attention to this particular one.’

A perigee moon rises above Dojran Lake in southeastern Macedonia and people celebrate by dancing in the moonlight

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A perigee moon rises above Dojran Lake in southeastern Macedonia and people celebrate by dancing in the moonlight

A supermoon rises above Dojran Lake in southeastern Macedonia

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A supermoon rises above Dojran Lake in southeastern Macedonia

 

   

An expert believes that MH17 was downed by a missile fired from rebel-held Torez in eastern Ukraine - and a BUK anti-aircraft launcher has been pictured rumbling into the town just two hours before the crash, leading to speculation that it was this piece of equipment that was used to bring about the tragedy.

On Friday a missile launcher with two rockets missing was then filmed by Ukrainian intelligence services being smuggled on the back of a truck to Russia.

Anton Gerashchenko, from Ukraine's interior ministry, said of the missing missiles that 'it's not hard to guess why'.

Scroll down for video

Suspicious: Ukrainian spies reportedly filmed the launcher used in the attack being smuggled to Russia - with two missiles missing

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Suspicious: Ukrainian spies reportedly filmed the launcher used in the attack being smuggled to Russia - with two missiles missing

A view of what is believed to be a BUK surface-to-air missile battery being driven along a path on July 17 in Torez, Ukraine

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A view of what is believed to be a BUK surface-to-air missile battery being driven along a path on July 17 in Torez, Ukraine

Launch site? The BUK missile system photographed in Torez hours before MH17 was downed

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Launch site? The BUK missile system photographed in Torez hours before MH17 was downed

Russian air defense missile system Buk M2 seen at a military show at the international forum "Technologies in machine building 2010" in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

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Russian air defense missile system BUK  M2 seen at a military show at the international forum in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, in 2010

A map showing the distance between the launch site and the MH17 crash site

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A map showing the distance between the launch site and the MH17 crash site

Is this SAM, missing 2 missiles, being smuggled out of Ukraine?

Missle system 'seen in Ukraine' hours before MH17 shot down

'It was exactly these missiles which brought death to almost 300 innocent passengers of the ill-fated Malaysian Boeing,' he said, according to the Telegraph.

He continued: 'International terrorist Igor Strelkov, aka Girkin, last night visited Snizhne to settle the situation with the downed Malaysian Boeing.

'In the night the Buk system, from which the missile was launched, was removed to Russia, where it is likely to be destroyed.'

He claimed that the 'direct performers of the terrorist attack' are also likely to have been killed to avoid any witnesses.

The rebels 'happily announced that they had downed the Ukrainian AN-26' when in fact they had shot the Boeing, he said.

Dr Igor Sutyagin, Research Fellow in Russian Studies from the Royal United Services Institute, believes that MH17 was shot down by rebels based in the 3rd District of Torez.

Dr Sutyagin said the evidence that Russian separatists were responsible was very strong - and that there's even a suggestion the BUK missile launcher was being manned by soldiers from Russia.

A pro-Russian militant passes by the wreckage of a Boeing 777, of Malaysia Arilines flight MH17 debris

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A pro-Russian militant passes by the wreckage of a Boeing 777, of Malaysia Arilines flight MH17 debris

He said: ‘These separatists boasted on Twitter about capturing an BUK SA11 missile launcher [capable of downing high-flying airliners] on June 29, and several hours before the downing of the plane locals in Torez reported seeing BUK missile launchers and separatist flags around the city.

‘Later, there was lots of video posted of the plane falling down and rebels saying that “it was not pointless moving it [the BUK] there”.'

Dr Sutyagin then underscored the emerging Russian link to the tragedy.

He said: 'The military leader of the Donetsk Republic, Igor Strelkov, real name Girkin, a Muscovite, a Russian citizen, posts a video of the intercept.'

This video was taken down once it was discovered that the downed plane was civilian.

The expert implicated Russia further, revealing that the former commander of Russian Air Force Special Operations Command, a Colonel-General, stated recently in an interview that the separatists did not have the expertise to operate the BUK launchers, that only Russian personnel could do so.

It's also suspicious, Dr Sutyagin said, that Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported the crash at 16.13 Moscow time, several minutes before the crash actually happened - at 16.20.

'The plane is safely in the sky, and RIA Novosti publishes information that it has been shot down,' he said.

Dr Sutyagin also told MailOnline that information had been leaked from a source he was unwilling to name that the pilot of MH17 'felt bad' about his course over Ukranian airspace, so turned south. Little did he know, according to Dr Sutyagin, that his plane would then be mistaken by rebels for a Ukrainian government resupply flight.

He said: 'There is a Ukrainian mechanised brigade blocked by separatists near the Russian border. It's blocked on three sides by separatists and behind the brigade is the Russian boarder, so they can't get out. The Ukrainians try to resupply them from the air by transport aircraft.

'Now, the pilot of MH17 said that he "felt bad" and wanted to change course to get out of the danger zone. But several kilometers to the south is a Ukrainian Army heavy transport plane, an IL76, or Candid, which has the same echo as a 777 on a radar screen.

'The two planes came close. They tried to shoot down the transport delivering supplies to the brigade. They believed that they had been firing at a military plane, but they mistakenly shoot down a civilian airliner.'

Doomed: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off at 12.31pm from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam on Thursday

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Doomed: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off at 12.31pm from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam on Thursday

Interpol announced today it would fully assist the investigation of the horror.

Separatist rebels who control the crash site issued conflicting reports Friday about whether they had found the plane's black boxes or not.

'No black boxes have been found ... we hope that experts will track them down and create a picture of what has happened,' said Donetsk separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai.

Yet earlier Friday, an aide to the military leader of Borodai's group said authorities had recovered eight out of 12 recording devices.

Since planes usually have two black boxes - one for recording flight data and the other for recording cockpit voices - it was not clear what the number 12 referred to.

Earlier Ukrainian security services claim to have intercepted two phone conversations in which pro-Russian separatists appear to admit to shooting down Flight MH17, railing, 'They shouldn’t be f*****g flying. There is a war going on.'

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reportedly released recordings of the intercepted phone calls between Russian military intelligence officers and Russian-backed Cossack militants to the Kiev Post.

The phone calls, which could prove damning to Vladimir Putin, are allegedly from minutes after the Boeing 777-200 crashed and were apparently made near the village of Chornukhine, which is 50 miles north-west of Donetsk, near to the border with Russia, where the aircraft came down.

The first phone call was reportedly made at 4.40pm local time, or 20 minutes after the crash.

Admission of guilt or not? In a recording of an intercept, played to journalists, a Russian (military intelligence officer) called Igor Bezler (left and right) is heard reporting on the downing to his superior in Russian military intelligence, Colonel Vasily Geranin Admission of guilt or not? In a recording of an intercept, played to journalists, a Russian (military intelligence officer) called Igor Bezler (left and right) is heard reporting on the downing to his superior in Russian military intelligence, Colonel Vasily Geranin

Admission of guilt or not? In a recording of an intercept, played to journalists, a Russian (military intelligence officer) called Igor Bezler (left and right) is heard reporting on the downing of the Boeing 777-200 to his superior in Russian military intelligence, Colonel Vasily Geranin (not pictured here)

On the line allegedly is Igor Bezler, who according to the SBU is a Russian military intelligence officer and commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

He is apparently on the phone to a colonel in the Russian Federation armed forces named Vasili Geranin, explaining that the plane has gone down.

The SBU also released to the Kiev Post another telephone conversation between two militants identified only as 'Major' and 'Grek' who have apparently returned from the crash site.

This phone call takes place 40 minutes after the phone call which allegedly took place between Bezler and Geranin.

Airliner downed: Assault rifles in hand, four pro-Russian separatists survey the smouldering wreckage of a passenger jet destryoed by a missile in war-torn Ukraine

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Airliner downed: Assault rifles in hand, four pro-Russian separatists survey the smouldering wreckage of a passenger jet destryoed by a missile in war-torn Ukraine

'Unspeakable horror': Emergency workers survey the wreckage of flight MH17, which came down in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine

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'Unspeakable horror': Emergency workers survey the wreckage of flight MH17, which came down in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine

Putin lays blame on Ukrainian government after MH17 tragedy

A third part of the conversation that involves the 'Major' and 'Grek' seems to bring in Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin, who suggests that the Malaysian Airlines plane must have been carrying spies, otherwise it had no business flying in that airspace.

During the phone call between 'Grek' and the 'Major' they exclaim, 'holy s***' when they realize their error in shooting down a passenger jet.

Indeed, Reuters reported that Ukraine's state security chief accused two Russian military intelligence officers of involvement with pro-Russian rebels in the downing of a Malaysian airliner on Thursday, releasing chilling testimony of what he called an 'inhuman crime.'

SBU chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko based his allegation on intercepted telephone conversations between the two officers and pro-Russian fighters, one of whom referred to seeing 'a sea of women and children' in the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

The downing of flight MH17

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Crash site: Rescue workers inspect the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane which was shot down today above Ukraine, killed all 298 people on board

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Crash site: Rescue workers inspect the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane which was shot down today above Ukraine, killed all 298 people on board

Crash site: A picture taken this afternoon shows bodies amongst the wreckage of the doomed plane

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Crash site: A picture taken this afternoon shows bodies amongst the wreckage of the doomed plane

Smoke and debris believed to be from flight MH17 falling to Earth

'We will do everything for the Russian military who carried out this crime to be punished,' Nalivaychenko told journalists, who were shown video and audio transcripts of the recordings. 'The terrorists will not go on dancing on corpses.'

In a recording played to journalists of a conversation said to have taken place at 4.33 pm Kiev time, a rebel fighter going by the nom de guerre of 'Major' is heard telling another comrade called 'Grek' that a group of fighters had brought the airliner down.

'The plane broke up in the air, near the Petropavlovskaya mines. The first (casualty) has been found. It was a woman. A civilian,' he says.

At 5.42 pm 'Major' acknowledges the plane was civilian: 'Hell. It's almost 100 percent certain that it's a civilian plane.'

Destruction: The Boeing 777 aircraft was hit by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile over territory near Donetsk held by pro-Russian rebels who the Ukrainian government says are backed by the Kremlin

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Destruction: The Boeing 777 aircraft was hit by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile over territory near Donetsk held by pro-Russian rebels who the Ukrainian government says are backed by the Kremlin

Laying the blame: The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch, with President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism

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Laying the blame: The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch, with President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism

Arrival: The self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist 'Donetsk People's Republic' Alexander Borodai (centre) arrives on the site of the crash

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Arrival: The self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist 'Donetsk People's Republic' Alexander Borodai (centre) arrives on the site of the crash

Asked if there were many people on board, he replies in the affirmative with a swearword, adding: 'The bits (of the plane) were falling down in the streets ... There were the bits of couches, chairs, bodies.'

Asked if any weapons were found on board, 'Major' says: 'No - Civilian things, medical things, towels, toilet paper.'

He says ID documents of an Indonesian student had been found.

In another recording of an intercept, played to journalists, a Russian (military intelligence officer) called Igor Bezler is heard reporting on the downing to his superior in Russian military intelligence, Colonel Vasily Geranin.

'A plane has just been shot down. It was the 'Mine-laying' group ... They've gone to search and photograph the plane. It is smoking,' Bezler tells Gernanin at 4.40 p.m.

Asked 'How long ago?' he replies: 'About 30 minutes ago.'

THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE ALLEGED REBEL CONVERSATION THAT COULD PROVE DAMNING TO PUTIN AND RUSSIA

A phone call between rebels where they are heard to say ‘holy s***’ when they realized their error was intercepted by Ukraine’s security services, according to a Ukrainian newspaper.

Militants nicknamed ‘Major’ and ‘Greek’ were recorded speaking as ‘Major’ inspected the crash site and found only ‘civilian items’.

Also on the line were Igor Bezler, who authorities says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and a colonel in the main intelligence department of the general headquarters of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, Vasili Geranin.

The unverified transcript was posted online by the Kiev Post newspaper:

Igor Bezler: We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast).

Vasili Geranin: Pilots. Where are the pilots?

IB: Gone to search for and photograph the plane. Its smoking.

VG: How many minutes ago?

IB: About 30 minutes ago.

Allegations: This is a grab from the video provided to the Kiev Post. Pictured are Igor Bezler and Vasili Geranin. While (right) are likenesses of 'Major' and 'Grek' Allegations: This is a grab from the video provided to the Kiev Post. Pictured are Igor Bezler and Vasili Geranin. While (right) are likenesses of 'Major' and 'Grek'

Allegations: This is a grab from the video provided to the Kiev Post. Pictured are Igor Bezler and Vasili Geranin. While (right) are likenesses of 'Major' and 'Grek'

SBU comment: After examining the site of the plane the terrorists come to the conclusion that they have shot down a civilian plane. The next part of the conversation took place about 40 minutes later.

'Major': These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.

'Grek': Yes, Major.

'Major': The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first '200'. We have found the first '200' - which is code for a civilian.

'Grek': Well, what do you have there?

'Major': In short, it was 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft.

'Grek': Are many people there?

'Major': Holy sh__t! The debris fell right into the yards (of homes).

'Grek': What kind of aircraft?

Official: A third part of the conversation that involves the 'Major' and 'Greek' seems to bring in Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin, who suggests that the Malaysian Airlines plane must have been carrying spies Official: A third part of the conversation that involves the 'Major' and 'Greek' seems to bring in Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin, who suggests that the Malaysian Airlines plane must have been carrying spies

Official: A third part of the conversation that involves the 'Major' and 'Greek' seems to bring in Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin, who suggests that the Malaysian Airlines plane must have been carrying spies

'Major': I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main sight. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.

'Grek': Is there anything left of the weapon?

'Major': Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.

'Grek': Are there documents?

'Major': Yes, of one Indonesian student. From a university in Thompson.

Militant: Regarding the plane shot down in the area of Snizhne-Torez. It’s a civilian one. Fell down near Grabove. There are lots of corpses of women and children. The Cossacks are out there looking at all this.

They say on TV it’s AN-26 transport plane, but they say it’s written Malaysia Airlines on the plane. What was it doing on Ukraine’s territory?

Nikolay Kozitsin: That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be f…cking flying. There is a war going on.

Pro-Russian rebels 'discuss downing of Malaysian jet'

 
DID PILOT OF MH17 DIVERT  INTO HOSTILE TERRITORY?

The pilot of MH17 radioed that he 'felt uncomfortable' about the route he was flying while over Ukraine and tragically altered his course to hostile territory, where Russian separatist missile operators mistook his plane for a government military transport aircraft, according to an expert.

Dr Igor Sutyagin, Research Fellow in Russian Studies from the Royal United Services Institute, believes that MH17 was shot down by rebels based in the 3rd District of Torez, in eastern Ukraine, using a ground-to-air SA11 missile system .

He told MailOnline that information had been leaked from a source he was unwilling to name that the pilot of MH17 'felt bad' about his course over Ukrainian airspace, so turned south.

Little did he know, according to Dr Sutyagin, that his plane would then be mistaken by rebels for a Ukrainian government resupply flight.

He said: 'There is a Ukrainian mechanised brigade blocked by separatists near the Russian boarder. It's blocked on three sides by separatists and behind the brigade is the Russian boarder, so they can't get out. The Ukrainians try to resupply them from the air by transport aircraft.

'Now, the pilot of MH17 said that he "felt bad" and wanted to change course to get out of the danger zone. But several kilometers to the south is a Ukrainian Army heavy transport plane, an IL76, or Candid, which has the same echo as a 777 on a radar screen.

'The two planes came close. They tried to shoot down the transport delivering supplies to the brigade. They believed that they had been firing at a military plane, but they mistakenly shoot down a civilian airliner.'

In a third conversation, a rebel fighter says: 'It turned out to be a passenger plane. It fell in Hrabove area. There's a sea of women and children ...'

He adds: 'But what was it (the Malaysian airlines flight) doing over Ukraine?'

The man he is talking to replies: 'That means they've called up spies. No way to flights. This is war.'

'Okay, understood,' he replies.

'They discuss Russian saboteurs bringing down a passenger plane. They discuss the number of victims. We have fixed this conversation as taking place at 4.20. Now you know who carried out this inhuman crime against humanity,' Nalivaychenko said.

'We will open up to all possible channels, the means of this crime being objectively investigated, and the officers of the Russian Federation who carried out this crime being punished.'

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Donetsk rebel spokesman Sergey Kavtaradze as denying that the intercepted phone conversations were genuine. 

Yesterday it emerged that rebels laughed as they filmed the plane crashing, gleefully bragging ‘that was a blast – look at the smoke!’ while a fireball rose from the debris.

One of the voices is believed to be Strelkov, who then penned a triumphant war cry on Twitter, saying: ‘We warned you – do not fly in 'our sky'.’

A sickening mobile phone video posted online shows a pall of black smoke billowing over the crash site as three rebels provide an excited commentary.

The extraordinary footage – apparently filmed by the shooters themselves – charts the terrible final moments of the doomed airliner.

Their camera does not zoom in enough to see the plummeting plane in the sky, but the rebels’ voices can be heard talking happily of ‘black spots – these are the parts flying’, suggesting it fell to earth in several pieces.

A voice believed to be that of Strelkov – dubbed ‘Igor the Terrible’ – announces: ‘The plane was hit!’ He adds: ‘Look at those black spots, these are the parts, flying … it was a blast … look, look, black smoke!’

Another rebel, possibly referring to the missile system, laughs and says: ‘It was worth bringing this thing, wasn't it?’

None of the rebels can be seen in their horrific film, but it appears to be genuine because at the time only they seemed to know what was happening. Ordinary life carries on in the village where they are standing. A bus trundles by and an unsuspecting villager is seen wandering past the camera.

Shortly after the passenger plane was downed, Strelkov – seen smirking in propaganda photos – tweeted a boastful message claiming responsibility.

At the time, he apparently believed he had shot down an Antonov-26 military plane of the Ukrainian Air Force, saying it landed near a mine named Progress.

His chilling message read: ‘In the area Torez we just hit down An-26, it’s lying somewhere in the mine 'Progress'.

‘We warned you – do not fly in 'our sky'. And here is the video confirmation of the 'bird dropping'.

‘Bird fell near the mine, the residential sector was not disturbed. Civilians are not injured.’

Later as the horror became clear, the tweet was deleted.

Boast: Ukraine separatist Igor Strelkov said on Twitter ¿We warned you ¿ do not fly in ¿our sky¿. And here is the video confirmation of the ¿bird dropping¿

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Boast: Ukraine separatist Igor Strelkov said on Twitter ‘We warned you – do not fly in 'our sky'. And here is the video confirmation of the 'bird dropping'

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said European leaders should put more pressure on Mr Putin if Russia was involved in the incident.

She told PBS's Charlie Rose there should be 'outrage in European capitals' over Russian aggression in the region but ultimately it was up to Europe to take the lead.

She said: 'The questions I'd be asking is, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment? It's obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who could have had the expertise to do that? Because commercial airlines are big targets, but by the time they got over that part of Ukraine they should have been high, so it takes some planning.

'And the Ukrainian government has been quick to blame it on terrorists, which is their name for the Russian insurgents. And there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents.

'Now, how we determine that will require some forensics, but then if there is evidence pointing in that direction, the equipment had to have come from Russia. What more the Russians may or may not have done, we don't know.

'Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this. It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals.'

Mrs Clinton endorsed stepped-up US sanctions against Russia but said they would not 'necessarily restrain' Mr Putin or change his calculations.

Struggle: A firefighter sprays water on the flames in an attempt to extinguish the fire

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Struggle: A firefighter sprays water on the flames in an attempt to extinguish the fire

Fighting the fire: Airline fuel continues to burn amongst the wreckage as night falls over the crash site

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Fighting the fire: Airline fuel continues to burn amongst the wreckage as night falls over the crash site

   
 
     

A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane has been shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border, killing all 295 people on board including a reported five to ten Britons and 23 Americans.

The Boeing 777 aircraft was hit by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile over territory near Donetsk held by pro-Russian rebels who the Ukrainian government says are backed by the Kremlin.

The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch.

TV pictures from the scene showed a pall of smoke billowing into the sky near Donetsk, apparently from the stricken flight MH17.

Witnesses say body parts are scattered over a distance of 15km, suggesting the plane broke up in mid-air.

Whitehall sources told MailOnline that between five and ten Britons were feared dead. Interfax news agency reported that 23 U.S. citizens were on board.

Scroll down for videos

Destroyed: An armed pro-Russian separatist stands at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

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Destroyed: An armed pro-Russian separatist stands at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

Carnage: A firefighter tackles a blaze at the site of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

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Carnage: A firefighter tackles a blaze at the site of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

Salvage operation: Emergencies Ministry members work at the crash site after the plane was shot down, killing all 295 on board

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Salvage operation: Emergencies Ministry members work at the crash site after the plane was shot down, killing all 295 on board

Into a war zone: The jet was flying over the crisis-hit region of Ukraine, where the authorities have accused Russia-backed separatists of previous attacks on aircraft

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Into a war zone: The jet was flying over the crisis-hit region of Ukraine, where the authorities have accused Russia-backed separatists of previous attacks on aircraft

Catastrophic: A view of one of a crash site in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region. Witnesses said bodies were found scattered for many kilometres

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Catastrophic: A view of one of a crash site in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region. Witnesses said bodies were found scattered for many kilometres

Prime Minister David Cameron said: 'I'm shocked and saddened by the Malaysian air disaster. Officials from across Whitehall are meeting to establish the facts.'

He has summoned officials from across Whitehall for urgent talks at 7pm to discuss the latest on the crash, and what is known about any British casualties. A Whitehall source said that this evening's meeting was involving Government officials, rather than ministers, and was focused on establishing what needs to be done for any British citizens caught up in the incident.

The Foreign Office is in talks with consular teams in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur to obtain passenger lists to establish how many UK nationals were on board.

‘We are aware of the reports and are urgently working to establish what has happened,’ a Foreign Office spokesman said.

Asked about reports that up to 10 British people had been on board, the spokesman added: ‘Our first priority is to establish if there are any British persons on board but we are not in a position to go beyond that line.’

Discarded: Luggage from the plane is piled up at the crash site by rescue workers performing recovery work in east Ukraine

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Discarded: Luggage from the plane is piled up at the crash site by rescue workers performing recovery work in east Ukraine

Crash site: A picture taken this afternoon shows bodies amongst the wreckage of the doomed plane

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Crash site: A picture taken this afternoon shows bodies amongst the wreckage of the doomed plane

Search: The Foreign Office is in talks with consular teams in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur to obtain passenger lists to establish how many UK nationals were on board the plane

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Search: The Foreign Office is in talks with consular teams in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur to obtain passenger lists to establish how many UK nationals were on board the plane

Action: A Whitehall source said that this evening's meeting was involving Government officials, rather than ministers, and was focused on establishing what needs to be done for any British citizens caught up in the incident

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Action: A Whitehall source said that this evening's meeting was involving Government officials, rather than ministers, and was focused on establishing what needs to be done for any British citizens caught up in the incident

'Terrible': Twenty-three Americans are feared dead in the crash, which President Barack Obama called a 'terrible tragedy'

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'Terrible': Twenty-three Americans are feared dead in the crash, which President Barack Obama called a 'terrible tragedy'

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation told U.S. President Barack Obama that a Malaysian airplane crashed on Ukrainian territory, the Kremlin said.

The two leaders held a pre-planned call on the situation in Ukraine during which information became available from air traffic controllers about the crash.

Twenty-three Americans are feared dead in the crash, which President Barack Obama called a 'terrible tragedy'.

The president spoke briefly about the crash as he appeared in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday afternoon and said his national security team are working to determine if there were any U.S. citizens on board the plane that was carrying 295 people to Kuala Lumpur.

'Our thoughts and prayers are with all the passengers' families,' he added.

The aircraft, which was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur after taking off at lunchtime today.

It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace.

Catastrophe: Fire and smoke rises from the wreckage. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko denied his forces were involved in shooting down the plane

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Catastrophe: Fire and smoke rises from the wreckage. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko denied his forces were involved in shooting down the plane

The aircraft, which was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur after taking off at lunchtime

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The aircraft, which was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur after taking off at lunchtime

'Terrorist act': The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch

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'Terrorist act': The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch

Ripped apart: Wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines flight after it crashed in rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine

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Ripped apart: Wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines flight after it crashed in rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine

Down: Smoke billows into the sky after a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot out of the sky at 33,000ft over eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board

 

Down: Smoke billows into the sky after a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot out of the sky at 33,000ft over eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board

Tragedy: TV pictures show a pall of smoke billowing into the sky apparently from the stricken aircraft

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Tragedy: TV pictures show a pall of smoke billowing into the sky apparently from the stricken aircraft

An unverified image posted online show Ukrainian inspecting what appears to be wreckage from the doomed flight

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An unverified image posted online show Ukrainian inspecting what appears to be wreckage from the doomed flight

Personal belongings: It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace

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Personal belongings: It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace

Poignant: Passports of some of the victims. Emergency services rescue worker said at least 100 bodies had so far been found at the scene near the village of Grabovo

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Poignant: Passports of some of the victims. Emergency services rescue worker said at least 100 bodies had so far been found at the scene near the village of Grabovo

Doomed: Flight MH17 takes off from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam hours before it was shot down over Ukraine

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Doomed: Flight MH17 takes off from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam hours before it was shot down over Ukraine

SHOT OUT OF THE SKY: OTHER PLANES HIT MID-FLIGHT

April 20, 1978: Korean Airlines Flight 902, which diverted from its planned course on a flight from Paris to Seoul and strayed over the Soviet Union.

After being fired upon by an interceptor aircraft, the crew made a forced landing at night on the surface of a frozen lake. Two of the 97 passengers were killed by the hostile fire
September 1, 1983: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down by at least one Soviet air-to-air missile after the 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace. All 240 passengers and 29 crew were killed
July 3, 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed

The missile system is an old Soviet-built weapon designed to engage light aircraft, cruise missiles and drones.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued a robust denial that his forces were involved in shooting down the plane, saying: 'We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets.'

'We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible,' he added.

Pro-Russian rebels also denied they were involved in the attack, saying they believed the plane had been shot down by the Ukrianian air force.

Earlier, pro-Russia rebels claimed responsibility for surface-to-air missile on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets yesterday.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile - not a BUK - adding that the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely.

Defence experts have expressed fears in the past they could be used to target at civil aircraft.

Earlier, defence analyst Major Charles Heyman, who edited a book called Armed Forces of the European Union, believes it could have been downed by a 'slack' Ukraine air defence centre.

He told Sky News: 'It looks like confusion. It’s possible that Ukraine thought it was hostile and not civilian and shot it down.'

Powerful: The BUK surface-to-air missile system (like this one) that is believed to have shot down flight MH17 is an old Soviet-built weapon designed to engage light aircraft, cruise missiles and drones

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Powerful: The BUK surface-to-air missile system (like this one) that is believed to have shot down flight MH17 is an old Soviet-built weapon designed to engage light aircraft, cruise missiles and drones

Path to disaster: A graphic showing the flight path of Malaysia Airlines MH17 after taking off from Amsterdam at lunchtime en route to Kuala Lumpur

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Path to disaster: A graphic showing the flight path of Malaysia Airlines MH17 after taking off from Amsterdam at lunchtime en route to Kuala Lumpur

The radar route of Malaysian Airlines plane MH17

Why was MH17 flying through a warzone? European safety watchdog warned against using Ukraine airspace since APRIL

Air accident investigators are planning to inspect the proposed flight plan lodged by pilots on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

The 17-year-old jet was shot down over Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine despite commercial aircraft being warned against using the airspace because of the ongoing conflict.

One of the major questions is whether the Malaysian flight crew received the warning from flight safety officials about the risk to safety.

The jet was travelling at 33,000 feet at 490 knots when it disappeared from radar screens over Donetsk.

It is believed that the Malaysian Airlines pilots ignored several warnings to avoid the airspace over Ukraine. It is understood the Malaysian Airline jet used the Ukrainian route to save fuel as diverting north or south would have taken longer.

In April, the European Aviation and Safety Agency warned: ‘Taking into consideration the recent publication by the Russian Federation of a series of notices to airmen (NOTAMs) modifying the Simferopol FIR which is under the responsibility of Ukraine, and their intent to provide air traffic services (ATS) within this airspace, the Agency draws the aviation communities’ attention to the possible existence of serious risks to the safety of international civil flights.

The doomed flight on the tarmac of Amsterdam airport just hours before it was shot down over Ukraine  

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The doomed flight on the tarmac of Amsterdam airport just hours before it was shot down over Ukraine 

‘Due to the unsafe situation where more than one ATS provider may be controlling flights within the same airspace from 3 April 2014, 0600 UTC onwards, consideration should be given to measures to avoid the airspace and circumnavigate the Simferopol FIR with alternative routings. ‘

On July 8, the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian aircraft after rebels shot a military transport aircraft that was flying over 20,000 feet.

The restriction, warned commercial aircraft from transiting

British aircraft were warned to avoid the area altogether. A Notice to Airmen, seen by Mail Online warned: ‘Due to the potential for conflicting air traffic control (ATC) instructions from Ukrainian and Russian authorities and for the related potential for misidentification of civil aircraft, UK aircraft operators are strongly advised to avoid, until further notice, the airspace over Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.’

The EASA supplied airlines with a list of alternative routes avoiding the conflict zone.

The US Federal Aviation Authority had also banned its aircraft from the Crimea region.

The suspected shooting down of a large passenger plane while flying at altitude presents airlines and their passengers with an extremely serious new development in air travel, according to aviation experts.

They also question the future of Malaysia Airlines - caught in the global glare of bad publicity following the disappearance of flight MH 370 earlier this year.

If today's incident is confirmed as a deliberate act then Ukraine airspace could well be closed down, meaning diversions for UK carriers who currently fly to and over the area.

‘This could be a very serious development,’ said David Kaminski-Morrow, air transport editor of Flightglobal magazine.

He went on: ‘If reports are true, we are not talking about small-arm fire but serious weaponry. Normally even if planes fly over a war zone they can go high enough for the conflict not to be a worry.

‘Any decision about the opening or closing of Ukranian airspace will be a matter for the Ukrainians. It could well be that part or all of that airspace will now be closed.

‘Also, individual airlines, including UK carriers, could decide to detour around Ukraine.’

Mr Kaminski-Morrow continued: ‘It's really quite incredible that it should be Malaysia Airlines involved in this, after what happened earlier in the year.

‘This is not a small airline on a faraway route. This was a major airline flying from a European destination to a capital in the Far East. There must be serious concerns about how the airline can recover from this.

‘There will obviously be political as well as aviation concerns from all this. This will run and run.’

Malaysian Airlines said they have no information about any survivors.

In a tweet, the airline said: 'Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.'

A Boeing spokesman said: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with those on board the Malaysia Airlines airplane lost over Ukrainian airspace, as well as their families and loved ones.

'Boeing stands ready to provide whatever assistance is requested by authorities.'

The jet would have been flying at high altitude on an intercontinental flight that took it over the crisis hit region of Ukraine, where the authorities have accused Russia-backed separatists of previous attacks on aircraft.

Earlier today the Ukrainian authorities said one of their fighter jets was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane and Ukrainian troops were fired upon by missiles from a village inside Russia.

The alleged episodes mark what Ukraine says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine who have substantial quantities of powerful weapons.

A statement released by the Ukrainian President denying the plane was shot down by government forces

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A statement released by the Ukrainian President denying the plane was shot down by government forces

Malaysia Airlines confirms that it lost contact with flight MH17, the second tragedy to hit the airline this year after the disappearance of MH370

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Malaysia Airlines confirms on Twitter (above) that it lost contact with flight MH17, the second tragedy to hit the airline this year after the disappearance of MH370, while Boeing is also investigates

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Malaysia Airlines confirms on Twitter (above) that it lost contact with flight MH17, the second tragedy to hit the airline this year after the disappearance of MH370, while Boeing is also investigates

Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory. Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said he had "unconditional evidence" that Russia was involved in downing that aircraft.

The crash comes four months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 which is though to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Two weeks ago, investigators say what little evidence they have to work with suggests the plane was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometres from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian Ocean.

The search was narrowed in April after a series of acoustic pings thought to be from the plane's black box recorders were heard along a final arc where analysis of satellite data put its last location.

But a month later, officials conceded the wreckage was not in that concentrated area, some 1,000 miles off the northwest coast of Australia, and the search area would have to be expanded.

The next phase of the search is expected to start in August and take a year, covering some 60,000 sq km at a cost of AU$60 million ($56 million) or more. The search is already the most expensive in aviation history.

The new priority search area is around 2,000km west of Perth, a stretch of isolated ocean frequently lashed by storm force winds and massive swells.

HIJACKINGS, CRASHES AND UNSOLVED MYSTERIES: A TIMELINE OF OTHER  DISASTERS TO HIT MALAYSIA AIRLINES

December, 4 1977 - Flight MH653 was hijacked and crashed in Tanjung Kupang, Johor, killing all 100 people on board.

September 15, 1995 - Flight MH2133 touched down too far along the runway at Tawau Airport, Sabah, killing 32 passengers and two crew members.

March 15, 2000 - Flight MH85, travelling to Kuala Lumpur to Beijin, was damaged by the chemical oxalyl chloride, which leaked from canisters during unloading. The Airbus A330-300 was sufficiently damaged to be written-off.

March 8, 2014 - Fight MH370, carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers, went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport.

The Boeing 777 has still yet to be found, despite months of extensive searches in the southern Indian Ocean where it was believed to have crashed. The next phase of the search is expected to start in August and take a year, covering some 60,000 sq km at a cost of AU$60 million ($56 million) or more.

March 24, 2014 - Flight MH066, travelling from Kuala Lumper to Incheon, South Korea, was forced to make an emergency landing in Hong Kong after its main electricity generator failed.

Passengers onboard the flight later revealed they were told to prepare for an emergency water landing. However, the plane landed safely in Hong Kong in the early hours of the morning.

April 21, 2014 - Flight MH192, carrying 166 people, was forced to turn back to Kuala Lumpur while flying to India after a tyre burst and the right-hand landing gear malfunctioned.  Police later confirmed an investigation had begun into whether the flight had been interfered with before take-off.

April 24, 2014 - A plane belonging to Firefly Airlines (a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines) was forced to return to Penang after suffering problems with its landing gear.

A statement on the company's website said: 'This was because the aircraft's landing gear was unable to retract after being airborne. As safety is of utmost priority to Firefly Airlines, the aircraft was required to turn back to Penang.'

July 17, 2014 - Flight MH17 was shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border, killing all 295 people on board.

 

A French photographer snapped these astonishing pictures of passenger planes appearing as though they are heading to some unusual locations… the sun and the moon.

The shots of a Boeing Dreamliner were captured by Sebastien Lebrigand, 39, from the back garden in his home in Crepy-en-Valois, near Paris.

The images give the illusion that the planes are flying around the sun or about to land on the moon’s surface.  Lebrigand, who has been an amateur astronomer for more than a decade, uses a Canon EOS 60D, and a telescope to take the pictures.

The images of the planes, which look enormous compared to the sun, are the result of up to three hours' work.

Lebrigand, a father-of-two, said the results are a mixture of patience and luck. ‘I've been an amateur astronomer for 20 years. I do these photos to change our vision of things and to take the rare moments,’ he said.

‘I take pictures of what the eye finds difficult to see. I enjoy the rare conjunction of the planes passing by the sun and the moon.'

Fly me to the moon! A plane flies in front of a full moon in this photo taken from the photographer's garden in Crepy-en-valois, France

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Fly me to the moon! A plane flies in front of a full moon in this photo taken from the photographer's garden in Crepy-en-valois, France

An unusual sight: This photo of a passenger plane gives the impression the aircraft is speeding around the sun

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An unusual sight: This photo of a passenger plane gives the impression the aircraft is speeding around the sun

Illusion: The images of the planes, which look enormous compared to the sun, are the result of up to three hours of work

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Illusion: The images of the planes, which look enormous compared to the sun, are the result of up to three hours of work

Rare conjunction: The photographer said he takes these pictures to change our vision of things and to take the rare moments

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Rare conjunction: The photographer said he takes these pictures to change our vision of things and to take the rare moments

Patience and luck: Lebrigand uses a Canon EOS 60D and a telescope to take the pictures

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Patience and luck: Lebrigand uses a Canon EOS 60D and a telescope to take the pictures

Golden beauty: Lebrigand has been an amateur astronomer for 20 years

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Golden beauty: Lebrigand has been an amateur astronomer for 20 years

Playing with perception: Lebrigand uses a Canon EOS 60D and a telescope to take the pictures

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