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Canadian among people aboard Malaysian Airlines flight

People inspect the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) -
People inspect the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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By The Canadian Press

AMSTERDAM - An official with Malaysia Airlines says at least one Canadian was among the 298 people aboard a passenger plane that was downed today over Ukraine.

The airline's senior senior vice-president says 154 people were Dutch, 27 were Australians, 23 were Malaysians, 11 were Indonesian, six were from the United Kingdom, four were from Germany, four were from Belgium, and three were from the Philippines.

Huib Gorter says authorities are still trying to determine the nationalities of the rest of the passengers.

A spokesman for Lynne Yelich, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, says Ottawa is aware of at least one Canadian citizen among the victims.

But Saro Khatchadourian said no further details would be released to respect the privacy of the family.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement expressing shock and sadness about the destruction of the plane and said Canada is willing to assist authorities in determining the cause of the crash.

Malaysia's prime minister said the jetliner did not make any distress call before it went down in eastern Ukraine. Najib Razak also said the flight route had been declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

This was the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines this year. Its Flight 370 disappeared March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

_ with files from The Associated Press

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