No distress call received before Malaysian 777 crash

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No distress call was transmitted by the crew of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 lost over eastern Ukraine while operating an Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur service.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak disclosed the information during a briefing in the wake of the destruction of flight MH17 on 17 July. The absence of an emergency call could indicate a sudden event overcame the aircraft and its occupants.

Razak says that the route along which the aircraft was flying "was declared safe" by ICAO.

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Press Association

"Ukrainian authorities believe the [aircraft] was shot down," says Razak. "At this stage, however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy."

Razak states that, according to Kiev air traffic control, the aircraft's emergency locator transmitter gave the 777's location at 48.12°N and 38.52°E. This is a point near airway L980 east of Donetsk, close to the waypoint BELOL.

The Malaysian government is sending a disaster and rescue assistance team to the Ukrainian capital.

Razak says the Ukrainian authorities are to negotiate with rebels in the politically-unstable eastern region of the country in order to establish a "humanitarian corridor" to the crash site. He says an international team "must have full access" to the wreckage.