MH17 crash: Dogs and birds part of cargo manifest

The Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian militants on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard, a Ukrainian interior ministry official said. Many of the passengers who died when a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in Ukraine were heading to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.

PETALING JAYA - Two dogs, nine birds and about 100kg of medical supplies were on board MH17 which crashed in the Donetsk region in Ukraine near the border with Russia late Thursday after it is believed to have been shot down.

According to the cargo manifest released by Malaysia Airlines, the medical supplies were among the items registered under the "special load" category.

The supplies may or may not be related to the six-men delegation aboard headed for the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.

Among those believed to have died in the crash were former International AIDS Society president Dr Joep Lange, World Health Organisation spokesperson Glenn Thomas and Lucie van Mens, a pioneer in HIV and AIDS research.

The cargo manifest also showed that 1,452kg lithium batteries were being transported in the plane.

The cargo included pets - two dogs, nine birds including four pigeons.

About 215kg of fresh cut flowers, textile, helicopter and aircraft parts as well as diplomatic mail were also part of the cargo.