#MH17 Shot Down: This Is Not The First Time

While it is a terrible news and puts forth questions on the world peace initiatives, it is not the first time that a plane has been shot down. Here is a list of such cases:

In a new twist to the Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash story, the Ukraine has accused pro-Russian rebels of trying to destroy evidence of “international crimes” at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines plane.

The Ukrainian government has said that the rebels led by Russia were preventing international representatives and its own experts from starting their investigation.

The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It is believed flight MH17 crashed after being hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from a Buk launcher from rebel-held area in east Ukraine on Thursday. All 298 people on board died.

The plane was carrying 192 Dutch nationals (including one with dual US citizenship), 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons (including one with dual South African citizenship), four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines, and one each from Canada and New Zealand.

It is believed that nearly 100 HIV/AIDS scientists, activists, policy makers and consultants lost their lives in the tragic accident as they were headed to a conference in Melbourne, Australia.

While it is a terrible news and puts forth questions on the world peace initiatives, it is not the first time that a plane has been shot down. Here is a list of such cases:

• Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 — On February 21, 1973, the Libyan Airlines Boeing 727-200 plane was shot down by Israeli fighters when it strayed into the airspace of the Sinai Desert, then under Israeli control.It was believed that the pilots got lost due to bad weather and equipment failure over northern Egypt, resulting in the plane entering Israeli-controlled airspace over the Sinai desert. After firing warning shots and giving signals to land, two Israeli fighter jets shot down the plane. Out of 113 people on board, only five, including the co-pilot, survived.

• Korean Air Lines Flight 007 — On September 1, 1983, 239 people aboard a Korean Air Lines flight bound from New York to Seoul were killed when the passenger jet was shot down by Soviet fighters during the Cold War. KAL Flight 007 had veered off course and into Soviet territory, and pair of fighter jets was dispatched to intercept the perceived intruder. U.S. Rep. Larry McDonald of Georgia was among the passengers. The downing produced a giant outcry at the time, though the full facts did not become known until after the Cold War’s end.

• Iran Air Flight 655 — On July 3, 1988, Dubai bound Iran Air Airbus A300 was shot down by the USS Vincennes above the volatile Persian Gulf. All 290 passengers and crew aboard were killed. The United States said the Navy ship had been exchanging fire with Iranian ships and mistook the passenger jet for an Iranian F-14 fighter jet that had been sold to Iran before the 1979 revolution.

Iran condemned the incident, calling it a “criminal act”, an “atrocity” and a “massacre”, while the US insisted it was a misunderstanding. The case led Iran to begin legal proceedings against the US in the International Court of Justice in 1996. The American government later compensated the families of victims.

• Transair Georgia — A total of 136 people died when three Tupolev civilian airliners belonging to Transair Georgia were hit by rebel missiles and gunfire in the breakaway region of Abkhazia during its war of independence with Georgia.

The first plane, a T-134 flying from Russia, was struck on approach to Abkhazia’s Sukhumi airport on 21 September. The jet crashed into the Black Sea, claiming the lives of all five crew members and 22 passengers.

The following day, a T-154 was shot down while attempting to land at Sukhumi airport. The attack killed 108 of the 132 people on board.

On 23 September, passengers were boarding an aircraft at Sukhumi when it was struck and caught fire, leaving one crew member dead.

• Siberian Airlines Flight 1812 — On October 4, 2001, a Siberian Airlines Tupelov 154 headed from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Novosibirsk, Russia, was shot down and plunged into the Black Sea, killing all 78 aboard, most of them Russian-born Israelis. The Ukrainian military denied at first but later admitted its military mistakenly shot down the plane during a training exercise.

• Cathay Pacific Airways C-54, July 1954 — On 23 July 1954 a Cathay Pacific C-54 Skymaster carrying 19 passengers and crew was flying from Bangkok to Hong Kong when it was shot down by a mainland Chinese Army fighter plane off the coast of Hainan Island. Ten people died. China said it had mistaken the plane for a military aircraft on an attack mission.

So many innocent lives are lost when a war is waged against one country by the other. In the name of revolution, separatist tendencies have been coming to the fore and disturbing the peace balance of the world.

The question is how many more lives will have to sacrificed before we come to our senses?

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