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Malaysia Airlines 17 Shot Down

by Lux Joseph 19. July 2014

Just two days ago, the political unrest between Russia and Ukraine made a significant impact on the travel industry and in particular, Malaysia Airlines. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur Thursday when it was reportedly shot down over eastern Ukraine. This aircraft was carrying 298 individuals aboard when it crashed. This particular area in which the plane was shot down is currently occupied by separatists looking to repatriate with Russia. The rocket launcher has been suspected to be Russian property, but responsibility and reasons as to why it was shot still remain blurred. As the investigation continues it is possible that the missile could have been from Ukraine military, Russia military or Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. While rumors and thoughts fill social media, it is confirmed that this particular crash does not have any direct relation with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which disappeared earlier this year.

Many individuals have speculated and questioned whether the air space in which Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 flew over was safe and allowed due to the current turmoil between Russia and Ukraine. Approximately 18 hours ago Malaysia Airlines tweeted that MH17 flight route was declared safe and unrestricted by ICAO and IATA. Since April 3, 2014 U.S. airlines have been prohibited by the Federal Aviation Administration form flying over Crimea, the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azoz. All of these areas are within Ukraine. BBC reports, “U.S. carriers have also agreed to avoid flying through airspace near Russia’s border with Ukraine, the FAA said.” While the U.S. FAA may have travel restrictions or routings restricted for US Carriers, this does not apply to other carriers. In a media statement by Malaysia Airlines, the flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol. Eurocontrol is responsible for making decisions regarding the flight paths over European airspace. They are governed under ICAO rules and the service provider for Europe. MH 17 was not the only carrier with a flight that was on this route path at the same time it was shot down as well as days and weeks previous. Why was MH17 targeted? Was it by choice or just luck of the draw?

While Malaysia Airlines in their press release provided the breakdown of nationalities, four individuals still remain unidentified. At the time of the press release on Friday, July 18, 2014 no Americans were identified. At this time one American citizen has been identified of whom was raised in the Netherlands. This is a tragedy that affects people worldwide. For the Dutch community, the loss of life compared to population side is similar to the 911 incident. The airliner had 298 innocent individuals aboard and specifically about 100 scientific researchers of AIDS/HIV. This plane had some of the top HIV/AIDS researchers in the world that were en route to a conference in Melbourne Australia. Families lost their children, parents, loved ones, and friends from around the world. Only four months ago, Malaysia Airlines dealt with a tragic event in which they needed to contact next of kin for missing flight MH370 and now they face the same situation just from another perspective.

Malaysia Airlines is part of the One World Alliance and is an established airline in the industry that has received numerous awards and positive feedback. In 2013 alone, Malaysia Airlines received the following awards (

•    Asia’s Leading Airline from the World Travel Awards (WTA)
•    The World’s 5-Star Airline Award from Skytrax World Airline Awards
•    Best Airline Signature Dish from Skytrax World Airline Awards

While the signature dish does not apply to operations, the other two awards do. Unfortunately this airline is facing two high profile incidents in less than six months that resulted in the loss of lives of hundreds of innocent people. It is unpredictable as to how these events will affect the future of Malaysia Airlines.

A tragedy like this affects people and industries worldwide. Commercial Medical Escorts transports patients on a daily basis worldwide on commercial airlines. While many say that you are safer going on a plane then getting into your car when you go to work, there is no doubt in my mind that a disaster of this scale will impact the decisions of many in regards to flying especially in areas in/around Russia and Ukraine.

On behalf of the entire team at Commercial Medical Escorts, we would like to extend our sincerest sympathies and condolences to the families and friends of those involved in the MH17 crash. We know this this is a difficult time for all of those involved and our hearts go out to all of those affected around the world.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 still Looking for Answers

by Lux Joseph 28. March 2014

The statistics are that 1 in 1.2 million airplane flights involve an accident. Note that not all accidents are fatal. There is a 1 in 11 million chance that you will be killed in an airplane crash. However, 1 in 5,000 people die in a car crash. It appears as if the chances of losing your life when flying commercially are less likely than the chances of an individual dying in a car crash on their way to work. Nonetheless we still get in our car every morning and drive to work. For some reason the thought of a plane crash affects our nervous system much more than a car crash and especially after the recent news of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, more passengers are uneasy with traveling by commercial airline.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues to remain missing. Recent search efforts have been able to narrow its possible disappearance to the Indian Ocean, but the search for wreckage and the black box continues. Not a single piece of wreckage has been identified. The search area recently changed according to Australian government to a new area that is approximately 1,150 miles west of Perth. The search zone that they have been searching for over a week now was 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, but has been unsuccessful.  The shift in area is based on additional analysis that show the aircraft was most likely traveling at higher speeds and therefore would not have been able to cover as much distance as original proposed. Even three weeks after the flight has going missing, the search has a long way to go. Not even a small amount of debris has been detected to generate a lead in the right direction. Obviously, updated information such as the search area is a step forward, but for many observers it appears we are still a long way from finding closure.

With the new search area, 10 aircraft and 6 ships have been deployed and back to square one, and the time allotted on the black box pingers is slowly fading away. Black boxes have been in place on airplanes since the late 1950s. Each commercial airline has two of them in place: a flight data recorder and a voice recorder. Even though they are orange in color, making them easy to spot in water, the device only has enough battery power to transmit a signal for 30 days. Therefore as we enter into early April, time is running out. The estimated crash date was March 8 so we are looking at April 7 as the date in which they would expire.

As the search continues, the cost of the finding the missing Malaysia Airlines Plane increases and at this point government funds are being used. Prior to this incident, Malaysia Airlines was struggling financially and it may even require the government to step in to save the company. In 2011 when the Air France flight 447 went down, the search efforts cost ½ million dollars per day. Finding wreckage is just the beginning phases of an incident like this. If the wreckage is found, additional resources and funds will need to be employed for investigating and dissecting the wreckage to find more answers to the many questions that are lingering amongst the public and government officials.

The news and media have made numerous speculations regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but it is important to look at the facts. As with any major incident that occurs it is important that a plan is in place of how to respond to the situation in an orderly fashion to ensure accurate information is provided. They are been many reports in regards to the way in which the family members of the passengers on MH 370 were communicated with in regards to the incident. Communication with next of kin is critical in an incident like this one. Treating them with respect and dignity is the relationship that needs to be made with family members. On February 24, 2014 the U.S. Department of Transportation fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to comply with the Foreign Air Carrier Family Support Act of 1997. It is important for any company to follow and abide by all local, state, and federal laws. At Commercial Medical Escorts we have a plan in place should an incident like this occur during any of our medical transports.

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