Tuesday 14 July 2020

Buk missile brought down MH17, airspace should have been closed

reconstruction MH17Flight MH17 was brought down by a Buk missile made by Russia, the Dutch safety board which is investigating the cause of the accident, said on Tuesday.

‘We are talking about a 9N314M missile which was fired by a Buk launcher,’ OVV chairman Tjibbe Joustra said. ‘It hit the left-hand side of the cockpit. This is why the cockpit broke off from the body of the plane.’

Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board. Most were Dutch nationals.

Joustra also said that airspace above eastern Ukraine should have been closed because of the risk to aircraft.

‘Well before the disaster there was information available which pointed to the fact that civil aviation faced dangers,’ he said. ‘But despite this information, Ukraine did not close the airspace.’

According to the report, 16 Ukrainian military aircraft had been shot down by rebel forces prior to the crash.

‘Not just Ukraine but airlines, other countries and international organisations did not adequately estimate the risks,’ he said. ‘No-one thought about the risk to a civilian aircraft.’

Victims

The report also says the three crew members in the cockpit were killed by the missile explosion instantly, and that traces of the missile were found in their bodies.

However, it is unclear at which point the other occupants died and the possibility that some remained conscious for up to 90 seconds could not be ruled out, the report said.

One passenger was found with an oxygen mask around their neck. The report said there is no information about how this body was found on the ground. Nor was there dna or fingerprint evidence to determine if the mask been put on by the victim.

Responsibility

The long-awaited report, which does not state who was responsible for firing the rocket, was presented to the public at the Gilze-Rijen airbase in the early afternoon.

Despite the international interest, journalists were not allowed to ask questions about the report’s contents, Dutch media reported.

The investigation into who is responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airways flight MH17 will continue well into next year, a spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution service said earlier this week.

Russia

Russia, which presented the results of its own investigation into the crash also on Tuesday, has strongly denied the Dutch claims that one of its missiles caused the crash.

Officials from the Buk manufacturers held their own news conference in Moscow earlier on Tuesday.

According to Ian Novikov, director of the Buk missile factory, its tests show that the plane was brought down by an older missile, a type produced in the days of the Soviet Union and used by the Ukrainian army.

The OVV report

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