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No Indian on board ill-fated Malaysian plane MH17, confirms Aviation Minister

Jul 18, 2014 12:08 PM IST India India
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New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Friday confirmed that there was no Indian on board the plane in which 298 people lost their lives.

Terming the incident as unfortunate, he said that the government has asked all Indian airlines not to overfly Ukraine.

"It is unfortunate that this incident has happened. According to our information, there were no Indians on the flight. It is an unfortunate incident," Raju said.

All 298 people on board the Malaysian plane were killed on Thursday after the jet was shot down by "terrorists" over war-torn eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.

"We have to be safe with our citizens. Our citizens are our concern. India has alerted its own airlines Jet or Air India and they are avoiding Ukraine as of now. We are happy with the information that we have got that no Indian citizen's life has been lost," the Minister said.

Aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday issued instructions to Air India and Jet Airways, the only two Indian carriers that fly to Europe and North America, to avoid Ukrainian airspace while flying to and from destinations in both the continents.

An Air India official had said they would abide by any international advisory "to avoid airspace over conflict zone like Ukraine".

Ukraine airspace is among the busiest as flights connecting Europe and Asia transit through this region.

(With inputs from PTI)