By Natasha Brown
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — U.S. intelligence officials confirming now that the unthinkable did indeed happen over the skies of eastern Ukraine.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is believed to have been shot down by a ground to air missile over the war-torn area of Ukraine.
“To shoot down a non-combatant it’s unforgivable, it’s beyond comprehension,” aviation expert Arthur Wolk said.
Local experts weigh in on how this tragedy could have worldwide implications.
“Lots of airlines fly over this area because it’s the straight line to where they want to go in Asia,” Wolk said.
Wolk says the plane traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur took a route that many commercial airlines travel. But recent unrest on the ground between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists makes airspace in that region extremely dangerous.
“There were enough warnings out there that were very sophisticated weapons with tremendous capability to bring down high flying airplanes,” Wolk said. “To me, it makes no sense to fly over a war zone when that capability exists on the ground.”
While the investigation into who fired the missile and why continues, counterterrorism expert Ed Turzanski says he doesn’t believe this flight may have been the target.
“I don’t think they want to bring down a passenger jet. I think what very likely happened is they mistook this plane for a military aircraft,” Turzanski said.
Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels have denied responsibility for the deadly crash, but a conflict happening half a world away may now force a world response.
“For the first time we’ve had something that goes beyond Russians and Ukrainians and now forces the international community to respond,” Turzanski said.
Experts do say more provisions need to be put in place for commercial airlines flying over war zones.
For continuing coverage, visit CBSNews.com.
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