People inspect the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, on July 17, 2014. Picture: Dmitry Lovetsky

Johannesburg -

None of the passengers on the Malaysia Airlines plane that went down in Ukraine were travelling with a South African passport, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) said on Friday.

“Our mission in Kuala Lumpur informed us that amongst the passengers no one was travelling with a South African passport,” spokesman Nelson Kgwete said.

“We are aware of reports that there were two men with links to South Africa on board. According to consular policy, the country where the passport was issued should assist in terms of consular services.”

Kgwete said South Africa was ready to assist where it could.

It was reported on Friday that two South Africans were on the plane.

According to the news agency Agence France-Presse, 298 people were on board when the aircraft was allegedly shot down over Ukraine on Thursday by a surface-to-air missile.

The Ukrainian government, as well as pro-Russian separatists fighting the government, have denied any responsibility for the alleged attack on the passenger plane that was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. - Sapa