27 Australians on board Malaysian flight

DFAT urged family members "unable to contact" next of kin to call its 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 61 2 6261 3305 from overseas. Within Australia, the number is 1300 555 135.

UPDATE: Australian victims of MH17 disaster

It has not yet been confirmed if there were any Tasmanians involved in the disaster.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has confirmed nine of the victims were from Victoria. 

Also confirmed were nine victims from Queensland, seven from Western Australia, one person from New South Wales and one person from the ACT. 

EARLIER: A Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has been shot down in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, claiming the lives of 298 passengers and crew. Malaysia Airlines told Fairfax Media that 27 Australians were on board.

Fairfax is attempting to seek information about the identity of those who are on board.

UPDATED: A breakdown of the nationalities of those on board are:

  • 27 Australians
  • 154 Dutch
  • 43 Malaysians - including 15 crew members
  • 9 British
  • 12 Indonesians
  • 4 Belgian
  • 3 Filipino
  • 1 Canadian

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was investigating "a number" of Australians abroad the Boeing 777.

“We have grave concerns that a number of Australians may have been on board the flight," DFAT said in a statement. "Officials are urgently working to seek confirmation with relevant authorities."

"If you have any concerns for the welfare of Australian family or friends, you should attempt to directly contact them."

DFAT urged family members "unable to contact" next of kin to call its 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 61 2 6261 3305 from overseas. Within Australia, the number is 1300 555 135.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott offer condolences for 'unspeakable crime'

Lisa Cox, SMH

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said it would be an "unspeakable crime" if a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam was shot down and the perpetrators "should be swiftly brought to justice".

Mr Abbott offered his deepest condolences to the families and friends of the people involved in what was a "terrible tragedy".

"We can assure families that, at the highest levels of government, we feel for them, we grieve with them and we pray for them,'' he said on Friday.

''That's the first thing we go. The second thing is to try to provide whatever practical assistance we can, in terms of counsel and the repatriations of remains and so on.".

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