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Canadian among dead on downed Malaysian plane

Huib Gorter, senior vice-president of Malaysia Airlines, speaks at a news conference at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, on Thursday, July 17, 2014. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Phil Nijhuis

An official with Malaysia Airlines says at least one Canadian was among the 295 people aboard a passenger plane that was downed Thursday over Ukraine.

Huib Gorter, the airline’s 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.

Gorter says authorities are still trying to determine the nationalities of the rest of the passengers who were en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.

A Canadian government official could not elaborate on the Canadian who died. But Foreign Affairs has set up a hotline: (800) 387-3124.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement expressing shock and sadness about the destruction of the plane and says Canada is willing to provide whatever support it can to assist authorities in determining the cause of the crash.

Malaysia’s prime minister says the jetliner did not make any distress call before it went down in eastern Ukraine.

Najib Razak also says the flight route had been declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.