WASHINGTON, D.C. (PIX11) – At least one U.S. citizen was on board Malaysia Flight 17 when it was shot down over Ukraine, President Barack Obama said Friday as he called for an immediate ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.
At a noon news conference, Obama said the passenger plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired from a region of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
A Boeing 777 carrying 295 people went down near the town of Torez Thursday. All of those who were on board — “men, women, children, infants,” Obama said — are presumed dead.
At least one of those victims was from the U.S. — New Jersey native Quinn Lucas Schansman, 19, who was the first U.S. citizen or dual citizen to be identified.
Schansman was born in Fort Lee and was in his first year at the University of Amsterdam. He was traveling to Indonesia to join his family on vacation.
Victims also hailed from the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada and China.
Indiana University graduate student Karlihn Keijzer, 25, and “a number” of members of the International AIDS Society were also killed in the crash.
The incident happened one day after Obama announced broader economic sanctions against Russia for its threatening moves in Ukraine.
Obama said that this was not the first time a plane has been shot down in that part of the country, saying a Ukrainian transport plane, helicopter and fighter jet have also been attacked in the region.
However, he stopped short of pointing the finger at any specific person or party as having ordered the missile strike. He emphasized that the investigation was still in its early stages.
Obama called for an immediate ceasefire between the two countries and demanded a “credible” international investigation into the crash.
The services of the FBI and National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates civil aviation crashes in the U.S., have been offered to investigators probing the fate of Flight 17, Obama said.
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