MH17 Crash: Dutch Investigations Conclude Plane Was Downed By Russian-Made Missile
A probe that looks into the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 concluded that the missile exploded less than a meter away from the cockpit, which instantly killed the crew and broke the front of the plane.
The Dutch Safety Board, presenting the findings of an official probe in the crash, said that the incident that killed 298 people aboard the plane on July 17, 2014, could have been avoided had the airspace of eastern Ukraine been closed to passenger planes. While there would be further forensic analysis required to calculate the exact missile launch site within a 320-square kilometer area, a map included in the report suggests that the missile was launched from the rebel occupied city of Snizhne. “It’s an area where the borders fluctuate, but where the pro-Russia rebels were in charge,” Tjibbe Joustra, chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, said.
According to the Irish Examiner, Joustra said that there was “sufficient reason” to block the airspace to passenger planes in that area, but that “nobody gave a thought” to the imminent threat to civil aviation. In a news conference, Dmytro Babeichuk said that “no one could imagine” before the July 17 crash “that such powerful facilities, powerful equipment such as a Buk could be used against civil aircraft.” The Buk missile was identified by the missile fragments found in paint traces and the cockpit crew’s bodies.
The investigation concluded that the three crew members in the cockpit were killed instantaneously. The passengers died as a result of reduced oxygen levels, extreme cold, powerful airflow, and flying objects as the plane broke and crashed.
However, the report released by the missile’s Russian manufacturer clears the separatists and Russia from any culpability. Almaz-Antey said its findings were in contradiction to those of the Dutch investigations. Chief Executive Yan Novikov said that the MH17 was downed by a different missile type than what the Dutch investigations have concluded; and that Ukraine was blameful for the tragedy. The company further said that the submunitions damage pattern on the experimental aircraft’s remains were different from those discovered on the remains of MH17. Claims that the missile was fired from Snizhne have also been refuted.
Joustra said that the cause of the tragedy could not be explained by any other explanation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Contrary to the Russians supporting and promoting the idea that Ukranian jet fighters caused the crash, Joustra said that an air to air attack wasn’t what downed the Boeing 777.
The airlines said it will show cooperation and will continue to work with the authorities. It also said it welcomed the publication of the report.
In light of the tragedy, airlines were requested to undertake their own risk assessments. “Operators will have to gather information about conflict areas more actively and share relevant information on threats with each other,” the Dutch Safety Board said.
Fears that those responsible will not be brought to justice have developed among the families of the victims. “I’m afraid this will become a political game that will never result in the prosecution of the perpetrators,” Sigrid Huisman, whose friend was headed to Bali when the plane crashed, said. “Are these people still even traceable?”