MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti) – The death toll in the Malaysian airliner crash in eastern Ukraine has been updated to a total of 298 as Malaysia Airlines said early Friday three infants were initially not accounted for.
“As opposed to the earlier statement, 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,” it said in a statement released on the company’s official webpage.
It said initially the flight had been carrying a total number of 295 people – 280 passengers and 15 crew members.
The airlines published a list of nationals who perished in the deadly crash. It features 154 Dutch citizens, 45 Malaysians, including the crew and two infants, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians (also including the third baby), nine Brits, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos, and a Canadian.
The company said some of the nationalities of the passengers were yet to be determined. As of now, 41 passengers have not been identified.
“Malaysia Airlines is in the process of notifying the next-of-kin of the passengers and crew,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members,” it continued.
It also announced that all its European flights would be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route.
The Government of Malaysia was to dispatch a special team to Kiev, including a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, and also a medical team, Malaysia Airlines said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier said he had already ordered his country’s defense agencies “to render all necessary assistance in investigating this crime." The United States also offered its help in the investigation.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the tragedy “shocking” and urged an immediate independent investigation into the cause of the Boeing crash, according to her spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Malaysian Airlines said Thursday it had lost contact with a Boeing-777 aircraft en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was in the Ukrainian airspace, following a report from the Ukrainian authorities of the plane crash north of the town of Torez in the Donetsk region.