Wreckage and bodies are scattered across the Ukrainian countryside after a Malaysian jetliner was shot from the sky.

Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners are combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces, killing all 298 aboard.

Large chunks of the Boeing 777 bearing the airline's red, white and blue markings lie strewn over a field. The cockpit and one turbines lie a kilometre apart, and residents said the tail landed about 10 kilometres away, indicating the aircraft most likely broke up before hitting the ground.

About 70 coal miners have joined the rescue effort near the rebel-held village of Rozsypne. At least four bodies were seen in the streets of the village, and a journalist saw bodies and body parts strewn across a sunflower field outside Rozsypne.