The route Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 took on several previous trips in the past month curved sharply downward as it entered Ukraine airspace, directing the plane away from the area of east Ukraine where a Boeing 777 was shot down on Thursday.
Data from the flight-tracking website FlightAware shows that the inbound MH17 flight from Thursday took a different route than the plane that went down:
This route kept it away from the area of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists, who are believed to be responsible for shooting down the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.
The map below shows this route that MH17 took Thursday:
The route is significantly more northern, bringing the plane into the part of east Ukraine that is seeing rebel fighting. The flight might have rerouted because of weather, according to CNN.
Redditor ra66itz created an overlay that shows the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 routes from July 6th to July 17th (with the downed plane’s flight path in red):
Thursday’s MH17 flight appears to be the only one that went so far north over eastern Ukraine.
As the below graphic from Reuters shows, most of the separatist fighting in Ukraine during the past month has taken place in Donetsk and Luhansk:
The flight paths from previous flights do not seem to cross into this area.
An aviation expert confirmed the odd flight path with The Telegraph.
Robert Mark, a commercial pilot who edits Aviation International News Safety magazine, said the downed plane took a path that was 300 miles north of its usual route.
Malaysia Airlines said Thursday’s route was an “approved route” that was deemed safe for air travel and used by other airlines.
Nearly 300 people died in the attack.
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