Downing the plane could have been a mistake says Tampa experts

Downing the plane could have been a mistake says Tampa experts

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Former pilot and crash investigator John Cox Former pilot and crash investigator John Cox
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Strewn about in hostile territory, crash investigators could find their jobs hampered by the fighting between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists.

And that's only part of the tough job ahead to determine, who shot the plane down, and why.

Social Studies Professor Darrell Slider of USF says neither side in the on-going dispute, has a reason to shoot down a passenger airline. “It was most likely the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine, thinking that they were shooting down a Ukrainian transport plane. It was simply made a mistake,” said Professor Slider.

Former airline captain, now a safety expert, John Cox, believes whoever is responsible, didn't mean to do it. “In fact, if someone did shoot a missile at it, it's either a gross misidentification or ineptitude,” said Captain Cox.

Professor Slider believes there may be beneficial results from the tragedy. “I think it will put pressure on Russia to rein in their allies. Maybe get them to think more carefully about what of weapons they send across the border,” he said.

With intense fighting in the area, you might wonder why any planes even dare to venture near, even at 33,000 feet.

Captain Cox explains the plane flew on a published route, sending out an identification code, and talking to controllers.

“It's much shorter than trying to go around the airspace. And there was no indication of previous problems,” he said.

From what he's seen, Captain Cox believes the plane suffered an in-flight break-up, a missile being a likely cause.

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