Susan Collins: Americans likely among casualties when Malaysian plane was shot down

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it is likely several Americans were passengers on the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane that was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday.
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it is likely several Americans were passengers on the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane that was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday.
Posted July 18, 2014, at 10:47 a.m.
Last modified July 18, 2014, at 11:46 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, joined CBS 13 News Live at 5 Thursday to talk about the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane shot down in Ukraine with 295 people on board.

“The manifest of passengers has not yet been turned over to the American Embassy, so we’re not sure, but it does appear likely at least some Americans were among the passengers,” Collins told CBS 13.

Collins also said she would like to see the Ukraine allow U.S. air safety experts access to the site to help recover the black box and explore the information in it.

“That black box is absolutely critical to knowing what happened,” Collins said.

She expects this international incident to have some impact on commonly used flight routes that travel over Ukraine and possibly Russia, as well.

“That’s one of the aspects of this that is most troubling. The route that the aircraft was flying is a route that is reserved for commercial air carriers. It is difficult to understand how anyone could have mistaken this for a military aircraft,” she said.

“The most likely explanation in my mind is that separatists in eastern Ukraine used some Russian-supplied equipment to shoot down the plane; it is also possible there was a bomb on board.”

Collins says the strewn debris indicates the plane was downed by a surface-to-air missile.

Collins noted this is the second Malaysian airliner that has been lost in a very short period of time, as Thursday’s incident follows the mysterious disappearance of MH370 in March.

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