Date
25 September 2017
A teddy bear lies amid the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Dutch investigators have confirmed the plane was shot down by a missile without saying who fired it. Photo: Reuters
A teddy bear lies amid the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Dutch investigators have confirmed the plane was shot down by a missile without saying who fired it. Photo: Reuters

Dutch investigators confirm MH17 was downed by a missile

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was hit by high-energy objects which caused the plane to break apart in midair, according to Dutch investigators.

Most of the passengers were Dutch nationals.

A weapon would have detonated near the plane, hitting it with high-intensity debris at close range, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the investigators.

No new conclusions were offered other than a definitive statement that the Boeing 777 plane was shot down.

With little access to the crash site, investigators relied on analysis of the plane’s data and cockpit recorders, photographs of the wreckage and other external sources.

The investigators said that they found no technical faults with the plane and no sign the pilots sent a distress call.

Still unknown is who fired the missile. Ukraine has accused Russian-backed militants operating in the area while rebels have suggested Ukrainian forces were responsible.

The investigators did not find any Ukrainian fighter planes in the area to fire such a missile.

Meanwhile, Dutch officials have opened a criminal investigation into the crash which killed all 298 passengers and crew aboard, including 193 Dutch citizens.

Dutch prosecutors are gathering evidence and hope to file criminal charges in Dutch courts.

Heavy fighting near the crash site and sometimes uncooperative rebels holding the territory kept investigators mostly away from the debris and other forensic evidence crucial for such a probe.

Rebel forces failed to seal off the site in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

Their early, haphazard efforts recovering bodies, picking through wreckage and allowing unfettered access to the site to journalists and others all would have degraded the value of any detailed forensic analysis, the report said.

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RA

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