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MH17 hit by Buk missile system: Dutch Safety Board

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-13 20:39

MH17 hit by Buk missile system: Dutch Safety Board

The reconstructed airplane serves as a backdrop during the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. [Photo]

GILZE-RIJEN AIR BASE, Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands -- The crash of flight MH17 on 17 July last year was caused by the detonation of a 9N314M-type warhead launched from eastern Ukraine using a Buk missile system, said the investigation report published Tuesday by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB).

"The in-flight breakup of the aircraft near the Ukrainian/Russian border was caused by the detonation of a warhead close to the left front of the plane," Safety Board director Tjibbe Joustra said. "The weapon used was a warhead model 9N314M a missile 9M38 series, as installed on the Buk surface-to-air missile system."

"Additional forensic is needed to determine the location of the launch," Joustra added. "That is outside the mandate of the Dutch Safety Board."

The DSB led the investigation on the cause of the crash and Joustra made public the long-awaited findings during a presentation at Gilze-Rijen Airbase on Tuesday.

The investigation has shown that flight MH17 progressed normally up to the moment when the aeroplane was flying over the eastern part of Ukraine. At 13:20 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) a 9N314M warhead, launched by a Buk surface-to-air missile system from a 320-square-km area in the eastern part of Ukraine, detonated to the left and above the cockpit, according to the investigation report.

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 aeroplane broke up in the air, the investigation report said. Wreckage from the aeroplane was distributed over various sites within an area of 50 square km. All 298 occupants were killed.

The DSB explained that it has established the cause of the crash on the basis of several sources. "For example, the weapon system used was identified on the basis of, among other things, the damage pattern on the wreckage, the fragments found in the wreckage and in the bodies of crew members, and the way in which the aircraft broke up. The findings are supported by the data on the flight recorders; the Cockpit Voice Recorder picked up a sound peak during the final milliseconds," said the report.

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