The only consolation families of the victims of the Malaysian airliner shot down by a Russian missile had has been taken away from them.
Dutch officials had led them to believe that everyone was killed when the “Grizzly” missile hit the Boeing 777 at 31,000 over the eastern Ukraine.
Now it has been revealed that some may have lived, though likely not long, after the impact.
At least one passenger had an oxygen mask around his neck. The Russian-backed rebels have kept investigators from the crash area so there may have been even more indications of what occurred.
Might speculation that Russian special forces shot down the jet be true. One report said they had intended to hit a Russian airliner, but had launched the missile from the wrong village.
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has apologized to families of the 298 victims for leading them to believe that no one could have survived the missile strike. It leaves open the question of whether some survived, dying on when they hit the ground. And if so, how long did they live?
It brings to mind many other crashes, including one of a Turkish Airlines DC-10 over Paris in which 346 crew and passengers died. It is known that the vast majority died after 77 seconds of the plane flying out of control before it the forest below.
There were 298 killed on board flight MH-17 when it was shot down on July 17 during fighting between the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed troops. Some have said only a Russian missile crew could have operated the sophisticated Buk, codenamed Grizzly by NATO. The aircraft was flying at 21,000 feet, not within sight of the crew that brought it down.
Russian missiles had brought down helicopters and Ukrainian air force planes in the previous days.
Timmerans disclosed the finding of the oxygen mask in an interview on a Dutch TV show.
The interviewer criticized Timmermans for telling the U.N. Security Council of the horror the passengers must have felt. That statement conflicted with an earlier statement in which the foreign minister had indicated death was instant.
“I shouldn't have said it,” he told the interviewer, who said none of the passengers would have known the plane was hit.
"Oh yes? Can you be so sure about that? "But do you know that someone was found with an oxygen mask on their mouth - and so they had the time to put it on?"
Bloomberg quoted an analyst, Robert Mann, president of RW Mann & Co., saying: “This suggests the aircraft cabin pressure monitoring systems continued to operate, masks dropped, and at least one passenger had time to react to mask availability and don a mask.”
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB agent, ordered lethal gas sprayed into a theater held by terrorists. He has frequently used tactics abhorred by civilized governments, including in a school. It has even been alleged that he had deadly polonium injected into the blood of a former colleague, who died in a London hospital.