Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: Amsterdam airport says six Britons were travelling on downed plane

David Cameron said officials across government departments were working to establish what had happened

Six Britons were on board the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed in Ukraine, an Amsterdam airport official has said.

Of the 295 passengers who died on the aircraft, there were unconfirmed reports that 23 were American citizens and at least 55 Dutch nationals had taken the flight.

The Foreign Office said it was working to identify any British victims of the tragedy. A spokesman added: “We are aware of the reports and are urgently working to establish what has happened.”

Fears that Dutch citizens were heavily represented in the death toll appeared to be confirmed. Dutch travel agency D-Reizen said 25 of its clients were booked on the flight while another firm, WTC, said it had 30 clients on the plane.

 

David Cameron said officials across government departments were working to establish what had happened. Both he and the Labour leader Ed Miliband expressed their condolences to the families of the victims.

The British Government has also called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the incident.

People walk amongst the debris, at the crash site of a passenger plane in Ukraine People walk amongst the debris, at the crash site of a passenger plane in Ukraine (AP)
Mr Cameron said: “I’m shocked and saddened by the Malaysian air disaster. Officials from across Whitehall are meeting to establish the facts.” 

Mr Miliband said: “Truly awful news about the Malaysian Airlines flight. My thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends.” Millions of British passengers travel through Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport en route to destinations around the world as a result of its success as an alternative hub to Heathrow.

With airlines operating out of Britain gearing up for the summer holidays and one of the busiest times of the year, Malaysian Airlines has two direct flights a day from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur. But with operators offering cut-price feeder flights to large European hubs such as Schiphol and Paris, British travellers have long grown used to bypassing Heathrow for intercontinental travel.

Dutch aviation chiefs even launched an advertising campaign to attract British passengers, boasting of more than 100 daily flights from the UK to Schiphol, carrying some seven million passengers a year. The airport had even taken to referring to one of its six runways as “Heathrow’s third runway”.

The apparent shooting down of a commercial flight in what was already one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints prompted one Labour MP to call for Parliament to delay its summer recess, due to begin next week, if it is established that the plane was destroyed by a missile supplied by the Russian government.

The wreckages of the Malaysian airliner The wreckages of the Malaysian airliner (Getty Images)
John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, said: “295 innocent people have tragically lost their lives and their families will want to know how and why this happened. This is a very troubling development which raises serious issues that Parliament will want to consider. It cannot do this if it is not sitting.”

The destruction of a flight over Ukraine – long established on routes to Asia – caused several airlines to announce that they would no longer overfly the country. Virgin said two of its aircraft would “slightly divert” on journeys from London.

British Airways said none of its aircraft entered Ukrainian airspace apart from a daily service to Kiev.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat