‘We must not jump to conclusions’ about MH17 report, warns Dutch PM

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the cause of the crash of Malaysia Airways flight MH17 in July.

Rutte was speaking following the publication of an initial report into the crash and claims on the BBC that Russians fired a missile which brought down the plane

The Dutch Safety Board published its preliminary 34-page report into the crash on Tuesday, stating that the Boeing 777 was hit by a ‘large number of high-energy projectiles’. This would be typical of the effect of a BUK missile, experts have said.

The BBC said on Monday it had spoken to eyewitnesses who claim Russians were operating a BUK missile launcher seen in the area where the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet went down.

Preliminary report

The plane appeared to break up after being hit by the projectiles, the report goes on to state. ‘There are no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by a technical fault or by actions of the crew,’ it concludes.

These first conclusions on what caused the crash are based on satellite images, air traffic control reports, the plane’s voice and data recorders and radar images. At one point in the transcript of the air traffic control conversation after contact was lost with the plane, one official says ‘yes, it’s disappeared’.

‘The sole objective of this investigation is the prevention of similar accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability in respect of any party,’ the report states.

Criminal investigation

Rutte stressed the report is the result of a preliminary investigation and that the Dutch public prosecution department is also looking into the crash.

Dutch officials are due to return to Ukraine on Wednesday in an effort to get access to the crash site. All 278 people on board the plane were killed when it crashed over eastern Ukraine. Some two-thirds of them were Dutch and the Netherlands is leading the investigation into the cause of the disaster.

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