While planes have been shot down accidentally many times during wars, the bringing down of Malaysian Flight 17 going from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, where neither the Netherlands nor Malaysia have any involvement in the Ukrainian civil war, is particularly unfortunate.
Here is a list of earlier 'accidents' in air space:
1954: A Cathay Pacific plane, en route from Bangkok to Hong Kong, was shot down by China's People's Liberation Army Air Force. Ten out of the 19 people on board died. In their apology, the Chinese government claimed mistaken identity of the carrier as a military craft belonging to Taiwan.
1955: El Al Flight 402, flying from Vienna to Tel Aviv was shot down in Bulgarian airspace by two MiG-15 jets. All aboard, seven crew and 51 passengers were killed. After initially denying involvement, Bulgaria admitted to the shoot down. Eight years after the attack, Bulgaria agreed to pay a total of $195,000 ($1.5 million in current dollars) to Israel, having already compensated non-Israeli passengers.
1973: Libyan Airlines 114 on way from Tripoli to Cairo was intercepted by Israeli jet fighters on entering Israeli airspace over Sinai peninsula. On refusing to land, the plane was shot down. Of the 113 on board, five survived.
David Elazar, the chief of staff of the Israeli armed forces, took responsibility for the act while defence minister Moshe Dayan called the event an "error of judgment". The Israeli government compensated the families of victims. The Soviets had condemned the shoot-down and called it a "monstrous new crime".
1978: Korean Air Flight 902 from Paris to Seoul diverted from its planned course and strayed into Soviet airspace. The plane was shot down by Soviet Sukhoi fighters near Murmansk and made an emergency landing on a frozen lake. Miraculously, all but two survived.
1980: Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 crashed after a mysterious object was seen approaching the aircraft, which was on its way from Bologna to Palermo, Italy. It disappeared from radar screens shortly after. All 81 people on board were killed.
In January 2013, Italy's top criminal court ruled in 2013 that there was "abundantly" clear evidence that a stray missile caused the passenger jet to crash into the Mediterranean Sea. But Nato forces have denied carrying out any such operation. It is suspected that the plane was caught in a plot to shoot down a plane carrying Libyan dictator Gadaffi. Many decades later, an Italian prime minister claimed the plane was shot down by French military. But the claims have not been proven.
1983: Korean Air Flight 007 with 269 passengers was going from New York to Seoul. Flying off course it entered prohibited Soviet airspace and was shot down by a Soviet fighter. There were no survivors this time. In this case the flight carried on board Congressman from Georgia, Larry Mc Donald known to be a fierce Communist critic.
This accident spawned conspiracy theories of intentional shooting down of the plane but no such evidence was found. In fact, the International Civil Aviation organisation report of 1993 found that Soviet personnel had been baffled and concerned by the presence of an unknown aircraft in their airspace. However, their decision to strike without attempting to make contact was cited as reckless.
This shoot-down led to the expansion of the GPS to civil craft.
1988: Iran Air Flight 655 flying from Tehran to Dubai was shot down by US Navy guided missile cruiser which believed it was under attack by Iranian fighter jets. All 290 crew and passengers were killed. President Reagan called the event a "terrible human tragedy" and stated regret for loss of life.
2001: In what resembles the Malaysian mishap the most, Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 flying from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk, Russia, exploded at more than 35,000 feet and disintegrated into the Black Sea. All 12 crew and 66 passengers were killed. Most of them were Israelis.
The Ukrainian authorities at first denied responsibility but later admitted to a case of mistaken identity. It happened during one of its training exercises which involved shooting 23 missiles at drones. "Experts say that the radar-guided S-200, among the farthest-flying and most capable anti-aircraft missile in the arsenal of former Soviet nations, simply locked onto the Russian airliner after it raced past the destroyed drone some 20 miles off the Crimean coast," the New York Times' Michael Wines had reported.