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'Attack' On MH17 Is Grim Reminder Of Korean Flight 007

17/07/2014 19:22 BST | Updated 17/07/2014 19:59 BST

Today's downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane is a grim reminder of events more than 30 years involving a Korean Airlines flight. In an incident still shrouded in controversy and conspiracy theories, a Korean Airlines flight 007, flying from Alaska to Seoul in South Korea, was shot down by a Russian fighter on September 1 1983.

The aircraft came down at sea, killing all 269 people on board. It had entered Soviet airspace and it later transpired that it had flown a long way off course. But this was the height of the Cold War and there were 61 Americans on board the doomed plane, so immediately recriminations began.

korean airlines flight 007

Korean 747 passenger plane on the runway at Hawaiian airport in 1982

The Soviets assumed the passenger plane was a US spy aircraft while the US President Ronald Reagan called it "a massacre" and "a crime against humanity". Initially, the Soviet Union denied responsibility. Years later the Russians conceded that the Soviet action had been tragic but necessary, given just how far off course the civilian plane had got.

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