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.
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.