Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed about 40km (25 miles) from the border with Russia in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine near the regional capital of Donetsk. The two sides in Ukraine's civil conflict have accused each other of shooting it down with a missile.
The crash turned a large area of countryside into a hellish scene
US Vice President Joe Biden said that it appeared that the crash was not an accident and that the airliner - carrying at least 173 Dutch nationals, 27 Australians, 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 12 Indonesians and nine Britons was "blown out of the sky".
The Ukrainian government was quick to blame separatist militants - allegations strongly denied by them - triggering a new stage in the propaganda war over the crisis.
An emergency worker said that the search on the ground was a formidable challenge because debris from the aircraft was spread over a 15km (9 miles) area.
Rescuers on Friday said that they had recovered one of the plane's black box flight recorders. But there's doubt about this, with one separatist leader denying it had been found.
As rescuers gathered the passengers' possessions, Ukraine called the disaster an "act of terrorism", arguing that Russia was responsible because it had been supplying separatist rebels with advanced weapons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly denies any responsibility. He was quick to offer his condolences to the bereaved, releasing this picture on Friday of him and members of his government honouring the dead.
The people of the Netherlands have been left in shock by the disaster, with flags flying at half-mast throughout the country. Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said "horrible" images coming from the crash site only served to add to the sense of national trauma
Passengers who checked-in as usual for Malaysia Air flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Friday now face delays, because it and other airlines have now pledged to re-route flights in order to circumvent Ukraine