Well, here’s a headline you never, ever want to see. Matt Drudge links to a report from Sky News (grimly named in this case), which is putting the “shot down” in quotes in its headline, and preceding it with the word “reportedly” in its lede, implying that while there’s been a crash of Malaysian Airlines jet with 295 people onboard, its demise hasn’t been 100 percent confirmed:
The Malaysia Airlines plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was travelling at an altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 metres) when it was shot down, Russia’s Interfax reported.
An adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry told the news agency the Boeing 777 was brought down by a Buk ground-to-air missile.
All 280 passengers and 15 crew members who were on the plane are believed to have died, he added.
A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines, still reeling from the loss of flight MH370 in March, confirmed it had lost contact with flight MH17, which took off from Amsterdam’s Schipol airport at 12.15pm local time.
The flight disappeared from radar as it flew over Ukrainian airspace, the spokesman said.
Ed Morrissey adds that “If this plane was shot down, this would mean an enormous escalation in the Ukraine-Russia crisis:”
It’s difficult to believe that either Ukraine or Russia would mistake a commercial flight at 10,000 meters, as Reuters reports it, as a hostile military flight — although that was the explanation offered for the KAL 007 shootdown and the US Navy’s shootdown of an Iranian commercial flight in the 1980s as well. CNN’s expert wonders whether Malaysia Air’s communications got screwed up again and ended up flashing something other than its proper ID, but it seems a little more likely that if it got shot down — still not yet established — it would have been from forces not used to dealing with the distinction between the various kinds of flights.
Read the whole thing, including this grim-sounding tweet:
Anyone else remember the tension the Fall of 1983 after KAL 007 was shot down?
— Popehat (@Popehat) July 17, 2014
And Ace of Spades c0-blogger Drew M. adds this: “Via Noah Rothman…civilian jets are scrambling to get the hell out of dodge right now. Amazing:”
Speaking of flashbacks to earlier “man-caused disasters,” as Mr. Obama’s associates would likely describe today’s incident, “Cross your fingers there was no Archduke aboard,” Kate adds at Small Dead Animals, along with this:
So in 2 days, two Ukrainian fighter jets have been hit by missiles. One Ukrainian transport plane destroyed by missile. Now a passenger jet. — Matt Gurney (@mattgurney) July 17, 2014
Update: Glen Thrush of the Politico retweets this item from Strobe Talbert of the Brookings Institute and Clinton-era Deputy Secretary of State:
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) July 17, 2014
And at the Washington Examiner, “Obama, Vladimir Putin talk by phone, discuss reports of downed passenger jet.”
Considering Obama likely fancies himself the second coming of Adlai Stevenson, no wonder I’m getting President Muffley calling Premier Kissoff on the hotline flashbacks from Dr. Strangelove from that headline.
“Developing,” as Matt Drudge would say; more as it comes in.