18 July 2014
Last updated at 03:58
The Boeing 777 came down on the Russia – Ukraine border with 298 people on board
At least nine Britons were on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, with some passengers’ nationalities still to be determined, the airline has said.
Some 298 people were on board the Boeing 777 which crashed in eastern Ukraine after taking off from Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur.
Both sides in Ukraine’s conflict accused each other of shooting down the plane with a missile.
The UK Foreign Office has set up a helpline for anyone concerned.
A statement on the Malaysia Airlines website said nine of the passengers were from the UK, with 41 nationalities listed as “unverified”.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he was “deeply shocked” by the “appalling incident” and did not want to speculate on the causes.
The UN Security Council will meet to discuss the incident at 15:00 BST on Friday.
The Foreign Office said anyone concerned could text MH17 to +44 7860010026, call 020 7008 1500, or fill out an online form at https://overseas-crisis.service.gov.uk.
Wreckage from the plane was scattered near the village of Grabovo
Tributes were left at the Dutch embassy in Kiev
People waiting at Kuala Lumpur International Airport were told about the crash
Whitehall officials met on Thursday evening to discuss the incident and establish the facts, Prime Minister David Cameron said.
He tweeted it had left him “shocked and saddened”.
Mr Hammond told a press conference: “We are currently working through passenger data, cross-checking it and referencing it to establish exactly the numbers and identifies of those British nationals and as soon as we have further information we will be in contact with the families.”
He also called for a UN-led international investigation.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said “no stone will be left unturned” in the investigation into what happened.
Mr Razak said the passengers and crew had come from many different countries.
He added: “Today, regardless of nationality, we are all united in grief.”
Malaysia Airlines said that of the passengers’ nationalities identified so far, 154 were Dutch, 27 were Australian and 45 were Malaysian, including 15 crew.
As well as nine from the UK, there were passengers from Indonesia, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines and Canada, he added.
Avoiding Ukraine airspace
Ukraine’s president has called the loss of the plane an “act of terrorism” as the separatist rebels denied shooting it down.
US President Barack Obama, who spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the crash earlier, said it was a “terrible tragedy” and that US officials were trying to establish if any Americans had been on board.
Meanwhile, leading airlines have announced they are now avoiding airspace surrounding eastern Ukraine.
The Department for Transport said flights that were already airborne were being routed around the area.
British Airways said the safety and security of its customers was its top priority.
It added: “Our flights are not using Ukrainian airspace, with the exception of our once a day service between Heathrow and Kiev.
“We are keeping those services under review, but Kiev is several hundred kilometres from the incident site.”
Virgin Atlantic said it was re-routing “a small number of flights”.