Vivid, gruesome first-person accounts from site of Malaysia Airlines crash



Noah Sneider, writing for The Economist from the site of the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 crash in Ukraine:

“We thought that they were bombing us,” says Natalia, from the nearby village of Grabovo, referring to the Ukrainian forces who skirmish almost daily with pro-Russian separatists in surrounding towns. The passengers fell, one fighter stationed here says, “from incredible heights”. As they came down, many were “undressed by the air”.

One victim somehow kept his black shirt on, but lost half of his face. A can of Gillette shaving cream is wedged under his back. Nearby lie the makings of a holiday: an Avis rent-a-car receipt, a postcard, a toiletry kit with face-wash and a blue and white toothbrush. A pair of chocolate bars with macadamia nuts lie in the grass.

Sabrina Tavernise, writing for the New York Times:

He heard a sound like a whistle, then walked onto his balcony on the fifth floor and saw something falling from the sky. He later understood it was part of the plane’s fuselage. Then he saw things that looked like pieces of cloth coming fast toward the earth. They were bodies, many with their clothes torn off.

Rescue workers said they counted many children. A boy who looked to be around 10 lay on his side in the grass in a red T-shirt that read “Don’t Panic.”

Notable Replies

  1. Absolutely heartbreaking.

    Nice work, Vladimir.

  2. I think there might be a little too much stuff showing on the main page before the jump. frowning

  3. I have read elsewhere that the fact that victims have lost their clothes can be used by investigators to gauge at what altitude the plane broke up.

  4. I fail to see how cutting and pasting these horrifying things from other sources is adding anything to the conversation about this tragedy. This is the worst kind of click bait. No better than slowing down to gawk at a car accident. For shame, Xeni.

  5. I find it interesting that you take as a given that there is something wrong with slowing down to gawk at a car accident.

    Slowing down to gawk at a car accident is a good way to remind yourself that car accidents are not abstract. About 30,000+ people die in car accidents every year in the US, did you know that? It's a huge number but it's abstract, so we never do anything about it. Imagine seeing 30,000 crash victims - gruesome, bloody, dead - that would really affect you, make you want to do something.

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