Dutch report concludes MH17 hit by Russian-made Buk missile

2015-10-13 14:03

Amsterdam - Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was hit and downed by a Russian-made surface-to-air Buk missile over eastern Ukraine last year, the Dutch Safety Board concluded Tuesday.

The final report was presented at the Gilze-Rijen military airport in the country's south, and the victims' families were briefed first on the findings in The Hague.

DSB chairman Tjibbe Joustra said the missile hit the Boeing 777 on the left side of the cockpit.

He said it was launched from a 320km2area in eastern Ukraine.

The aim of the Dutch report was not to assign blame for the downing of MH17, but the United States and Ukraine have accused pro-Russian separatist rebels of bringing it down. Russia has blamed Ukraine for the crash.

MH17 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it went down in rebel-controlled territory on July 17  2014.

All 298 people on board were killed: 193 Dutch, 43 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 10 Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos, a Canadian and a New Zealander.

Joustra said that on the day of the crash, "160 flights flew over the area."

Earlier, Dutch media reported the families were told that those on board lost consciousness or died within seconds.

Almaz-Antey, the Russian producer of the missile system, said Tuesday that the likely missile was taken out of service in Russia in 2011.

"We have proven that the surface-to-air missile that hit the Boeing over Ukraine could have only been a 9M38 of a Buk system, ... the last such missile of which was made in the Soviet Union in 1986," producer Almaz-Antey's general director Yan Novikov told reporters, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

Novikov said his company performed an experiment with a similar aircraft to determine what missile could have caused the destruction found on MH17.

He also said the missile was likely fired from the village of Zaroshenske, which Russia has asserted was controlled by the Ukrainian government during the incident.

The DSB was tasked with: - Confiming the causes of the crash.  The issue of flying over conflict areas. - The reasons why Dutch relatives had to wait for two to four days for confirmation from the authorities that their family members had been on the plane.  To what extent those on board consciously experienced the crash.

The DSB made a reconstruction of the passenger jet at Gilze-Rijen using recovered pieces of wreckage, part of the cockpit and business class section.

Safety board members Erwin Muller and Marjolein van Asselt were next to inform 75 embassies about the investigation in The Hague.

In its preliminary report released in September 2014, the DSB said that MH17 broke up in the air, probably after being hit by "a large number of high-energy objects."

Images of the wreckage showed that it was pierced from the outside in numerous places, causing the Boeing 777 to break up in flight, its report said.

That initial report found no evidence that the crash resulted from a technical problem or crew error.

The black boxes and the plane's communications with air traffic controllers showed no emergency or technical problems. Rather, the flight was operating normally until "it ended abruptly," the report said.

The investigators believe the plane broke up in flight because wreckage was scattered over a large area, communications with air-traffic controllers suddenly halted, it disappeared from radar, and black box data ended abruptly.

Other countries contributing to the Dutch investigation include Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Russia, Britain and the United States.

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