American On Board Downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Was New Jersey Native
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — As night fell on Ukraine Friday, the wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 still sat in miles of open fields, and the bodies of many passengers on board still haven’t been removed.
One American with dual Dutch-American citizenship was among those killed on the plane, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.
Quinn Schansman, 19, was born in Fort Lee, New Jersey and was in his first year of college at the University of Amsterdam, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported.
His grandfather, who is from Amsterdam and on vacation, spoke from a relative’s home in southern New Jersey on Friday.
“As a grandparent you just hope that none of the children or the grandchildren will go before you, and now it has happened,” Ronald Schansman said.
Schansman was studying business and on his way to meet family members for a vacation in Indonesia when he boarded the doomed flight, Champion reported.
On Friday, President Barack Obama said the “eyes of the world are on eastern Ukraine” and called for a credible investigation into the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane, saying “we are going to make sure that the truth is out.”
In remarks from the White House, Obama said evidence so far indicates that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
In all, the attack Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations.
Passengers on the plane also included a large contingent of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists headed to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia. News of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community.
“This was a global tragedy,” Obama said. “An Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies filled with citizens from many countries, so there has to be a credible, international investigation into what happened.”
He noted it wasn’t the first time the separatists had shot down planes in the region, adding that a “steady flow of support from Russia” had included heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weapons.
He called for an immediate cease-fire to allow for a full investigation.
“Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken — men, women, children, infants — who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine,” Obama said. “Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions.”
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Friday all signs point to Russia for supplying and training the separatists, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.
“The missiles are highly sophisticated,” the New York Democrat said. “You don’t just buy an SA-11 missile at a store.
“It looks like President Putin has blood on his hands.”
Officials from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to Ukraine to help determine what happened, Obama said.
He warned that evidence must not be tampered with as a United Nations-backed investigation goes forward, and he said, “We will hold all its members, including Russia, to their word” in allowing access to the crash.
“This should snap everybody’s heads to attention,” Obama said.
UN Security Council Wants Probe Of Crash
Earlier Friday, the U.N. Security Council in New York approved a statement calling for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation” of the downed flight.
The council called for an investigation “in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability.”
It stressed the need for “immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident.”
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power also told the Council on Friday the missile was likely fired from a rebel-held area near the Russian border.
Power made waves Friday after she compared the scale of the Malaysia Airlines crash’s toll on the Netherlands to that of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.N., Yuriy Sergeyev, told the Council that communications and intercepts, photos and videos indicate that the rebels have at least two SA-11 missile systems.
Sergeyev said that immediately after the crash, a rebel military leader had boasted on social media of shooting down what he thought was a Ukrainian jet.
He added that detained rebels have told Ukraine that they also have a Buk missile system from Russia.
The Ukraine government in Kiev, the separatist pro-Russia rebels they are fighting in the east and the Russia government that Ukraine accuses of supporting the rebels all deny shooting the passenger plane down. Moscow also denies backing the rebels.
By midday, 181 bodies had been located, according to emergency workers in contact with officials in Kiev. Malaysia Airlines said the passengers included 189 Dutch, 29 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one person each from Canada and New Zealand.
Ukraine has called for an international probe to determine who attacked the plane and the United States has offered to help. But access to the site remained difficult and dangerous. The road from Donetsk, the largest city in the region, to the crash site was marked by five rebel checkpoints Friday, with document checks at each.
Separatist rebels who control the crash site say they have recovered most of its black boxes and were considering what to do with them. Their statement had profound implications for the integrity of the plane crash investigation.