There were three disabled passengers with reduced mobility among the 298 people onboard the Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over eastern Ukraine.
Reduced Mobility Rights understands there were three disabled passengers onboard the jetliner shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine. This website understands that three passengers on flight MH17 had requested wheelchair assistance at Schiphol airport.
Malaysia Airlines is renowned for the excellent care its cabin crew provide passengers with special needs. The airline is one of the few to offer rebates on domestic flights to passengers with disabilities. Skytrax UK awarded Malaysia Airlines World's Best Cabin Crew ranking in 2001,2004, 2007, 2009, and 2012.
Reduced Mobility Rights understands special seating arrangements had been made for at least one of the three passengers with reduced mobility. The airline is yet to officially confirm the number of disabled passengers onboard MH17 and the type of assistance required.
Earlier, the airline released a statement confirming flight MH17, which was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur went down in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines also confirmed that the aircraft did not make a distress call.
The flight was carrying a total number of 298 people – comprising 283 passengers including three infants of various nationalities and 15 crew of Malaysian nationality. Some of the nationalities of the passengers are yet to be determined.
Malaysia Airlines 17-year-old Boeing 777-200 aircraft (registration no. 9M-MRD) had undergone its last maintenance check on 11 July 2014.
Soon after the crash, Ukraine’s President said that “In recent days, this is the third tragic accident, after the AN-26 and SU-25 aircrafts of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were shot down from the Russian territory. We do not exclude that this aircraft was also shot down, and stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not commit any actions in the air [at the time of the downing].”
In a post on his page of Russia's largest social media site VKontakte, pro-Russian separatist leader Igor Girkin allegedly wrote: "In the vicinity of Torez, we just downed a plane, an AN-26. It is lying somewhere in the Progress Mine. We have issued warnings not to fly in our airspace. We have video confirming. The bird fell on a waste heap. Residential areas were not hit. Civilians were not injured." The post was deleted after news that a civilian aircraft had been shot down began to surface.
Flight MH17 was operated by an aircraft identical to the one operating flight MH370, the Boeing 777-200 that vanished en route to Beijing on March 8 2014.