AMSTERDAM [PeterPaul.ca] — A surface-to-air missile caused the horrific crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 last year but the identity of those responsible for firing that missile is still a mystery, the Dutch Safety Board [DSB] said last week in one of the most detailed crash reports in aviation history.
“The crash of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014 was caused by the detonation of a 9N314M-type warhead launched from the eastern part of Ukraine using a Buk missile system,” the board’s final report said. The manufacturer of the warhead denied the findings, saying the crash was not caused by a modern Russian BUK missile, according to Russia Today.
“The forward section of the aircraft was penetrated by hundreds of high-energy objects coming from the warhead. As a result of the impact and the subsequent blast, the three crew members in the cockpit were killed immediately and the airplane broke up in the air,” the DSB report stated.
Prior to the report’s release, speculation was rampant that the jetliner had indeed been shot down. This was never confirmed until the DSB painstakingly examined all the evidence in the year following the crash.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was a scheduled passenger flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur which disappeared off radar screens on July 17, 2014. All on board were presumed dead as reports emerged on social media showing aircraft debris along with speculation that it was shot down.
The Netherlands took the brunt of the casualties with all 154 citizens on board the plane feared dead. At least 43 people, including 15 crew-members and 2 infants, were Malaysian nationals. Another 27 passengers were Australian and 12 were from Indonesia.
There were nationals of the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, and the Philippines on board the plane, the airline confirmed in a statement. There was one Canadian on board and another 41 people still remain unidentified.
Relatives of the victims visited the reconstruction site of the aircraft on Tuesday along with Dutch officials and representatives from over 50 embassies, marking the official release of the final report into the tragedy.
Along with the report, the DSB released a 20 minute video in multiple languages detailing all the findings, as seen at the end of this report.
The DSB also conducted a separate investigation into the sharing of information with victims families, finding that they had to “Wait an unnecessarily long period of time for formal confirmation by the authorities about the fate of their loved ones,” according to a separate report by the DSB. It said Dutch authorities “lacked management and coordination with respect to compiling the information.”
The airline, however, did comply with international regulations by providing authorities with a passenger list within two hours of the crash, the board, chaired by Dutch civil servant Tjibbe Joustra, said. It found that information from separate parties, like Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, was not combined, causing for a delay by Malaysia Airlines in releasing a complete passenger manifest.
All families were not fully notified until the following Monday, four days after the tragedy. Although multiple phone numbers were created, none provided information the families were looking for. Distraught family members learned of the tragedy through news or social media sources and it wasn’t until family liaison officers from the airline contacted them that they definitively knew that their loved ones were on the plane.