MH17 Crash: Dutch Experts Say Numerous Objects Hit Plane

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( — September 9, 2014)  — “No evidence of technical or human error,” says a report released by the Dutch Safety Board. 

A BBC correspondent says this evidence is consistent with the plane being struck by shrapnel from a missile.

The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in rebel-held territory eastern Ukraine in July. All 298 people on board, most of them from the Netherlands, died when the plane came down, amid reports it was shot down by pro-Russian rebels.

Flight data record of MH17 flight status and air traffic control was investigated, also satellite images and photos from the scene to compile the preliminary report. This report doesn’t say explicitly that flight MH17 was knocked from the sky by a missile, but it pretty much rules out anything else.

There were no emergencies on board, no mechanical problems, the pilots didn’t make any mistakes.

Instead, the report talks about the aircraft being punctured by “high-velocity objects”, which is consistent with how the Russian-made BUK missile system works. That’s the system many suspect responsible, and allegedly in operational use of both Ukraine Army and pro-Russian rebels. These missiles don’t actually hit the target, they explode nearby and pepper it with shrapnel for maximum damage.

But all of this doesn’t answer the critical question – who fired the missile?

Russia has consistently denied allegations of supplying rebels with weapons.

Experts from the UK, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, the US, Ukraine and Russia are collaborating on the case.

Here are the key findings of the report:
– Likely that damage resulted in loss of structural integrity of aircraft, leading to break-up in the air
– Forward parts of plane found near Petropavlivka closest to last flight data broadcast
– Cockpit window contained numerous small puncture holes suggesting small objects entered from above level of cockpit floor
– Damage to forward section indicates plane penetrated by large number of high-velocity objects from outside
– No evidence found of manipulation of flight and data recorders
– No indication of technical or operational issues with plane or crew

The board says it expects the final report to be published within a year.