A chaotic narrative surrounding the cause of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is emerging, with Ukraine officials indicating a missile brought down the passenger plane on which 23 Americans are believed to have perished — and in the aftermath, one reported passenger’s Facebook post has gone viral.
Social media has become a major tool in the way information about incidents such as the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is reported. While in the past, news outlets reserved details of an incident and its subsequent investigation with respect to the families of those on board, it’s difficult to staunch the flow of information following a major international event in the era of Twitter and Facebook — particularly when passengers have actively shared their itineraries.
As such, it was fairly readily apparent that none of the 295 souls aboard MH17 survived the fiery explosion — videos of which reportedly circulated on YouTube in the hours after the crash. Additionally, officials were forced to address the frightening circumstance of deliberate sabotage being not only possible but even likely as news of the tragedy swept across global social sites.
In response to the question of how the crash occurred, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a statement:
“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.”
While it has not been officially confirmed, reports indicate that 23 Americans were on board the doomed flight. Identities of those reported American passengers have not been released.
However, one passenger from the Netherlands posted an image of the ill-fated passenger plane shortly before boarding, with a joke about identifying the craft should it disappear:
In the wake of the calamity, social media sites have also been reportedly used by potentially responsible parties to inadvertently suggest responsibility for the crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane.
Per Mashable, Igor Strelkov, a separatist, reportedly posted about shooting down what separatists may have believed was not a passenger plane as the news broke. The site quotes him as saying:
“We did warn you — do not fly in our sky… and here is the video proving another ‘bird’ falling down. The bird went down behind a slagheap, not in a residential district. So no peaceful people were injured.”
— Myroslava Petsa (@myroslavapetsa) July 17, 2014
As information regarding MH17 continues to emerge, some reports indicate that phone calls intercepted reveal that the Malaysian plane was taken down intentionally, but was mistaken for a non-civilian craft.