Singapore Airlines Apologizes for ‘Insensitive’ Postings on MH17

July 21 (Bloomberg) –- European investigators at the site of the downed Malaysian plane say their access to the scene is being restricted by gunmen. Ukrainian rebels, meanwhile, say they've retrieved the black box flight recorders. Bloomberg's Paul Allen has this report as the pressure grows on Russia to help establish exactly what happened. (Source: Bloomberg)

Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) apologized for “insensitive” Facebook and Twitter posts responding to queries about flight routes over Ukraine before offering condolences to passengers and crew of Malaysian Air Flight 17.

The condolence message for the downed Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS) flight was posted almost an hour after Singapore Air said in a Twitter post that it’s not flying over Ukraine. On Facebook, the gap was more than an hour.

“We are aware that our Facebook and Twitter update on Friday morning may have come across as insensitive to some,” Singapore Air said on its Facebook account yesterday. “The post was in response to many requests from our customers who had asked for information about our flight routes for their upcoming flights with us.”

Computer-generated images supplied by FlightRadar24, which monitors planes in real time, show Singapore Air Flight SQ351 from Copenhagen and Air India Ltd. Flight AI113 close to the site of the incident minutes before the incident. Singapore Air, in e-mailed comments to Bloomberg, revised its social-media statements on July 18 to say that it’s “no longer using” the route over the Ukrainian airspace.

Malaysian Air’s Flight 17 was flying to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, carrying 298 people when it was downed over Ukraine on July 17. The disaster comes four months after Malaysian Flight 370 bound for Beijing disappeared without a trace, the longest search mission in civil aviation.

Photographer: Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

A piece of wreckage from the Malaysian Airline System plane sits in a field near the village of Grabove, Ukraine, on July 20, 2014. Close

A piece of wreckage from the Malaysian Airline System plane sits in a field near the... Read More

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Photographer: Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

A piece of wreckage from the Malaysian Airline System plane sits in a field near the village of Grabove, Ukraine, on July 20, 2014.

Singapore is located south of Malaysia. The island’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Twitter post shortly after the incident -- before Singapore Air’s social media posts -- that he was shocked and saddened to hear the news.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyunghee Park in Singapore at kpark3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at anandk@bloomberg.net Linus Chua, Jake Lloyd-Smith

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